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Donald Trump slams GOP’s lack of support as party may shift aid away

‘‘So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers — and elections — go down!’’ Donald Trump tweeted Sunday before the debate.
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
‘‘So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers — and elections — go down!’’ Donald Trump tweeted Sunday before the debate.

ST. LOUIS — With his presidential bid in chaos on Sunday, a defiant Donald Trump slammed Republicans who are revoking their support for him as ‘‘self-righteous hypocrites,’’ while party officials looked for ways to minimize the damage to down-ballot candidates.

The Republican National Committee signaled that, with no time left to remove Trump’s name from ballots, it may redirect its expansive political operation away from Trump and toward helping vulnerable congressional candidates.

That would leave Trump with virtually no political infrastructure in swing states to ensure his supporters vote.

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Republican leaders scheduled a rare Monday conference call for House GOP lawmakers, who are on recess. A party e-mail announcing the call doesn’t specify the topic, but rank-and-file lawmakers believe it’s about Trump.

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The Republican chairman of the House Ethics Committee said Sunday that there is still time for the party to rally behind an alternative to Trump as their nominee, although that would probably require a write-in campaign unless Trump abandons the race.

On ABC’s “This Week,’’ Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said he hopes House Speaker Paul Ryan and party chairman Reince Priebus will withdraw their endorsements of Trump.

‘‘As a party leader, I think at times you have to stand up and do some pretty difficult things, and this may be one of them right now,’’ Dent said.

Dent floated a few names, including Robert Gates, defense secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under Bush; Ohio Governor John Kasich, who sought the GOP presidential nomination; and Mitch Daniel, a former Indiana governor.

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The latest firestorm was sparked by a 2005 video obtained by The Washington Post and NBC News. Trump, who was married to his current wife at the time, is heard describing attempts to have sex with a married woman. He also says that when you’re a star, ‘‘you can do anything.’’

Even Trump’s most loyal supporters struggled to defend him.

‘‘They’re remarks you certainly don’t want to hear from anyone, much less a presidential candidate,’’ Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, said Sunday on CNN.

‘‘I think he made a full and complete apology for it,’’ Giuliani said “He probably is going to do it again tonight.’’

Trump spent Sunday morning highlighting Twitter messages from supporters who slammed Republican leaders for abandoning him.

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In one message, Trump said, ‘‘So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers — and elections — go down!’’

Democratic rival Hillary Clinton stayed largely silent after the video was made public Friday, though running mate Tim Kaine accused Trump of engaging in a ‘‘pattern of assaultive behavior.’’

‘‘I think there’s kind of a piece of the jigsaw puzzle missing in Donald Trump where he does not look at women and consider them as equal to himself,’’ Kaine said Sunday on CNN.

At a fund-raiser in Chicago, President Obama called Trump’s rhetoric ‘‘disturbing.’’ Obama said ‘‘it tells you that he’s insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting other people down.’’

Trump is trying to save a flailing campaign amid unprecedented opposition from within his party. His own running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, said he could neither condone nor defend the remarks in the video.

Other Republicans took the extraordinary step of revoking support for nominee. Among them: Ohio Senator Rob Portman, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte — both are running for reelection — and the party’s 2008 nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain. Some called on Trump to quit the race.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who is among the Republicans who have called on Trump to quit, said Trump and his backers can cement a lasting legacy if he steps aside. That would allow Republicans to find a candidate who can bring together all elements within the party and defeat Clinton, Lee said on NBC’s ‘‘Meet the Press.’’

‘‘We've got candidates who can do it,’’ Lee said. “There’s still time to do it.’’