Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence on Sunday expressed renewed confidence in Donald Trump and their White House bid, amid a stream of allegations about Trump’s behavior toward women and a new poll that shows the race against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is still very close.
“This is a highly-contested election, all the way to the finish,” Pence told “Fox News Sunday.” “I couldn’t be more proud to stand with Donald Trump.”
Pence spoke hours after the release of a Washington Post-ABC News poll that showed Clinton leading by 4 percentage points, 47-to-43 percent, with Election Day now just 23 days away.
The poll is one of the first since the Oct. 7 release of a 2005 audiotape in which Trump, a wealthy New York businessman and former reality TV star, can be heard boasting about how his celebrity power allows him to kiss and fondle women without invitation.
The release also followed allegations from nine women now who allege Trump acted inappropriately with them and other, recent polls appearing to show Clinton widening her lead in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign. (Earlier Washington Post-ABC News polls show a similar Clinton lead.)
Pence, also the governor of Indiana, argued Sunday that the liberal-leaning media has continued to publish and air “unsubstantiated allegations” while “willfully ignoring” factual reports about questionable behavior by Clinton, her family foundation and her campaign.
He cited the example of a hacked email recently released by WikiLeaks that shows that representatives from Qatar in 2012, while Clinton was secretary of state, apparently tried to get a quick meeting with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, to give him a $1 million check for the family foundation.
Trump has in recent days argued on social media and on the campaign trail that the media, by publishing the women’s allegations against him, have rigged the election in Clinton’s favor.
"Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!" Trump tweeted Saturday night, apparently after watching at least two skits on the show satirizing him.
Pence on Sunday also said he accepts Trump’s apology for his comments on the audiotape and deferred talking about Trump's suggesting Saturday that Clinton appeared to be on performance-enhancing drugs during their last debate and that both should take a drug test before their third -- and final -- debate Wednesday night.
“All I know for sure is Donald Trump is going to be ready,” Pence said.