WASHINGTON - Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., has joined the chorus of critics of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's recently revealed remarks, but said he will focus his efforts on keeping Republicans in control of the U.S. House.
“Of course I condemn Mr. Trump’s comments on women. They were disrespectful and disgusting, and not representative of the Republican Party I grew up in and have worked hard to support and grow," Walden said in a statement sent Monday to NewsChannel 21 when asked for the lawmaker's reaction.
"While some aren’t surprised by his behavior, it’s clear he and he alone is responsible for his actions and statements," the Second District Republican said.
Walden added, "My focus continues to be on serving the people of southern, central and eastern Oregon, and maintaining a Republican majority in the House so we can get the country on a better path."
However, the statement did not indicate Walden was withdrawing his endorsement of Trump to be the next president.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, took part in a conference call with House Speaker Paul Ryan and urged members to take new polls in their districts to gauge the impact of Trump's latest controversy.
The newspaper said Walden told them "they should brace for a steep erosion of support for Trump and acknowledged the falloff could undermine congressional candidates, too."
Walden "asked the entire caucus to contribute quickly to the party's campaign arm, making it clear they needed to bolster their defenses across the country."
Walden isn't the only Oregon Republican criticizing Donald Trump.
State Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, over the weekend asked the national republican party to replace Trump as the nominee.
"The latest revelations about Donald Trump are disgusting and deeply offensive. There is no excuse for his language and behavior. Trump is a disgrace to the Republican Party and to our democracy. Last year, I condemned Donald Trump because I felt he was a sexist, narcissist and intolerant of people of color and ethnic minorities," Buehler saidr.
“The past year he has proven himself all that and more. It's time for national Republican leaders to take action to replace Donald Trump as the nominee of the Republican Party. In the meantime, I will continue to lead with an open mind, a tolerant heart and a thoughtful voice. And I'll put principle ahead of political Party," he said.
COCC political science professor Judy Stiegler told NewsChannel 21 Trump's apology for lewd comments about women made in 2005 might not have come off as sincere.
"I think there has to be some really dynamic changes in his approach, and I'm not sure he has the capacity to do that," said the former state representative, a Democrat
Stiegler said Trump bringing up another politician's past will not benefit the Republican nominee in the long run.
She said Trump's Sunday night debate threat to put Hillary Clinton in jail was "pretty extraordinary" for a presidential candidate to say about another opponent.
Stiegler said the national Republican party is now focusing on holding the House of Representatives and taking back the Senate.
"Particularly in the national end for the Senate and the House Of Representatives, you're seeing the Republican Party become more focus on them and sort of saying, 'The presidential race is what it is and we're not going there, we're focused on our candidates,'" Stiegler said.
Trump Eastern Oregon Political Director Patti Adair said not all Republican leaders are abandoning the Trump camp.
"He has some amazing people that stand behind him, and I'd rather focus on people who are standing behind him than other people in our party that don't get the desperation of the middle of America," Adair said.