New York: Despite facing severe backlash for his lewd remarks against women in a 2005 video, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Saturday remained defiant and said he will not drop out of the race under any circumstances.
"I'd never withdraw. I've never withdrawn in my life," Trump told The Washington Post in a phone call from his home in Trump Tower in New York.
"No, I'm not quitting this race. I have tremendous support."
"People are calling and saying, 'don't even think about doing anything else but running," Trump said when asked about Republican Party defections.
Trump said "running against" Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton makes keeping the party behind him easier.
"It's because she's so bad. She's so flawed as a candidate. Running against her, I can't say it'd be the same if I ran against someone else, but running against her makes it a lot easier, that's for sure."
Trump's comments came less than 24 hours after The Post published a video where the New York business tycoon bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone. He later offered what many say was an insincere and even defiant apology.
In the wake of sharp criticism by Republican leaders, Trump issued a short video statement in which he offered a rare apology for his remarks.
"I said it, I was wrong, and I apologise," he said in the video statement. He however said the video was "a distraction from the issues we are facing today."
He said that his "foolish" words are much different than the words and actions of Bill Clinton, whom he accused of abusing women, and Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of having "bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."
Trump acknowledged in the phone call with the Washington Post that the video "certainly has" consumed the presidential race but said he has endured past controversies, not only during his 2016 bid but during his career.
"I've been here before," Trump said.
Trump said "thousands and thousands" of backers have sent him letters and emails since the Post's story was published.
Trump referred to the past incident in which he had insulted Senator John McCain, by saying that he was not a war hero, as an example of how he has weathered political storms.
"Everyone said, It's over, it's over. The people didn't say that but the reporters said that," Trump said.
He said he had met with his advisers and family Friday night at Trump Tower, his campaign headquarters, and agreed to record a video response.
Trump said he may make a speech or remarks in evening, as a way of encouraging his supporters but insisted that any possible speech would not be a departure from the race.
"Forget that," Trump said dismissively of the suggestion. "That's not my deal."