ALBANY - State Republican Chairman Ed Cox condemned Donald Trump's lewd comments about women but declined to withdraw his support, saying the GOP's presidential candidate should be judged on his policies.
In an interview Saturday with the USA TODAY Network's Albany Bureau, Cox invoked past acts by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton as he denounced Trump's sexually aggressive 2005 remarks, in which Trump boasted of being able to "do anything" to women -- including grope them -- because he is a "star."
Cox, however, did not rescind his support for the Republican presidential candidate, as the state Democratic Party has called on him to do.
"I condemn the words of Donald Trump from 11 years ago, just as I condemn the actions of President Kennedy and President Clinton in the White House that showed disrespect for women within their sphere of power," Cox said.
"But I judge those presidents and all presidents on how their actions as president of the United States impacted the welfare of the American people."
Cox's comments came a day after the Washington Post published a video containing Trump's lewd 2005 remarks, which came as he filmed a segment for Access Hollywood, an entertainment show.
The video drew widespread backlash, including from former Gov. George Pataki, a Putnam County Republican and one-time presidential hopeful who called on Trump to back out of the presidential race.
"I'm horrified by #TrumpTape news," Pataki posted on Twitter late Friday. "(Trump) campaign is a poisonous mix of bigotry & ignorance. Enough! He needs to step down."Trump, a Manhattan businessman, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who lives in Chappaqua, will square off in their second debate Sunday.
Democratic candidates and officials across the state unleashed a flurry of statements Friday and Saturday highlighting their Republican counterparts' support of Trump, seeking to force them to take a position on the remarks in the video.
Christine Quinn, vice chair of the state Democratic Party, released a statement Saturday pressuring Cox and other New York Republicans, including Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, to "disavow and dis-endorse" Trump.
"The women of NY deserve to know where the Republican leaders of this state stand," said Quinn, calling Trump a "life-long misogynist" whose "so-called 'values' go against everything New York and this nation stand for."
In a statement Saturday, Astorino -- who ran for governor in 2014 and is considering another run in 2018 -- said it was "not a good day for Donald Trump" and that he was "right to apologize," which Trump did in a video message late Friday night.
"As a father of two daughters and a son I don't want them to think this is acceptable from anyone," Astorino said.
Astorino said Trump still has his support, however.
"His words are offensive and stupid, but her (Clinton's) actions and policies have and will put this country in danger, he said.
Cox said presidential candidates should be judged on their policies and the effect they would have on the American people.
"The American people ultimately judge those presidents (Kennedy and Bill Clinton) based on whether their policies as president helped or hurt the people of the United States, and based on those, that's the way I judge our present candidates," Cox said.
In an interview Saturday on NY1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said he believes "all New Yorkers are outraged" by Trump's comments.
"I think it was disgusting on a basic human level and I think the Republican politicians in this state have to condemn the activity, condemn the verbiage, condemn the sentiment," Cuomo said. "Silence is acceptance."