WASHINGTON – A group of Republican donors considered paying then-candidate Donald Trump to drop out of the 2016 race following the release of the now infamous Access Hollywood tape, according to a report Tuesday in the Atlantic.
The report cites one source who said that the small group of donors was given the figure of $800 million, but it is unclear if an offer was formally made or if Trump himself was aware of it.
During a campaign rally last June, Trump joked that he would consider dropping out of the race for $5 billion.
Trump says if offered $5 billion to drop out, “I guess we’d have to think about it”
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) June 18, 2016
A POLITICO report from the same month cites an unnamed former adviser speculating, apparently unprompted, that Trump would have backed out for $150 million.
The Washington Post released the 2005 Access Hollywood video on Oct. 7. In the lewd tape, recorded on a bus, Trump is heard bragging to then-anchor Billy Bush about grabbing women’s genitals and kissing them without consent. Trump quickly apologized for what he called “locker room talk” but he reportedly has since privately denied that his voice is on the tape.
Bush appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert on Monday to refute the president’s claims. Bush also published an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday on the same topic. NBC News fired Bush, who was a co-host on “Today,” nine days after the video was released.