Donald Trump's Character Is An Issue -- Here's What Republicans Now Have To Defend

Greg Hoadley

Donald Trump all but coasted to become the presumptive Republican nominee, even while questions of his character were being raised by opponents.

In addition to past issues of mocking a disabled reporter, stating that Arizona senator John McCain was not a war hero because he got captured, past comments about women, and suggesting that Ted Cruz's father may have been in on the Kennedy assassination, newer stories have emerged in the past week that Republicans are now being forced to defend.

On May 13, The Washington Post revealed that in the 1990s, Donald Trump apparently posed as his own publicist whom he named John Miller, and used the opportunity to brag about himself. Posing as Miller, he said that pop singer Madonna "wanted to go out with [Trump]," and that in addition to his then-girlfriend (and later his second wife) Marla Maples, Trump has "three other girlfriends."

The Post noted that Trump, "who testified in a 1990 court case that he occasionally used the name 'John Miller,' denied the report."

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And on May 14, The New York Times chronicled how Trump has treated women over the decades which revealed "unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct."

Trump replied in a Tweet that the Times article was a "Lame hit piece."

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Yesterday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demonstrated the tight rope that his party will now have to walk. The Washington Post noted that Priebus was "visibly uncomfortable" in defending Trump on three Sunday talk shows yesterday, and whether or not his character will matter to voters.

"It's something that Donald Trump is going to have to answer questions in regard to," he told Fox News Sunday. "Listen, I'm not saying it's not legitimate. It's all legitimate. I'm just saying I don't think it's going to affect people's view of who and what Donald Trump represents to them."

Priebus added that voters should also be concerned about Hillary Clinton's alleged treatment of women -- an issue that Trump has spoken about at campaign stops.

In one, documented by ABC News, Trump said that Clinton "is married to a man who is the worst abuser of women in the history of politics."

He further accused Hillary Clinton of being an "enabler."

ABC News spoke to voters about Trump, including one woman who asked, "How can we as the American people actually vote for somebody with this kind of character, and be comfortable with this man as our leader?"

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All of this adds to why many conservatives, Republicans, and Republican-leaning independents are struggling with whether or not they can vote for Trump, and why some, according to The Washington Post, are seeking a third party alternative. The Post found that, after interviewing "more than a dozen" Republican operatives, certain Republicans, most notably 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, are commissioning polls, seeking out fundraisers, and courting potential candidates.

What do you think? Can you vote for Donald Trump?

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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