ELKHORN, Wis. - A Wisconsin rally that was to showcase Republican unity has begun without Donald Trump or Mike Pence in attendance.
Trump was uninvited by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday after lewd and sexually charged comments Trump made in 2005 surfaced. Pence was to take his place but canceled Saturday hours before the event started.
Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson are among the office holders slated to speak at the annual "Fall Fest" event.
Many people in the crowd said they still support Trump and are unhappy with Ryan for condemning the remarks.
Ryan, Walker and Johnson have all criticized Trump's comments but not pulled their support for him.
Attorney General Brad Schimel is getting heckled for criticizing lewd and sexually charged comments made by Donald Trump in 2005. Schimel said, "I know Donald Trump has said some things that are bad." That led to yelling from the crowd of Trump backers. One person shouted, "It was 12 years ago! Get over it!"
Schimel said he supports Trump because he "will appoint judges who will defend our Constitution and respect our Constitution."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos focused on the record of the state Legislature during his comments at rally. Vos has been a lukewarm supporter of Trump and did not mention him during his speech.
Vos did not return a message asking if he still supports Trump.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson focused on his own tough re-election battle with Democrat Russ Feingold. Johnson did not say the words "Donald Trump" during his 10-minute address, but urged the crowd to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected president.
Johnson did issue a statement on Friday night condemning Trump's remarks but he has not withdrawn his support.
Gov. Scott Walker focused on the state's Senate and legislative races but did not address the remarks from Trump that came to light Friday and have led some Republicans to call on Trump to quit the race.
Walker has endorsed Trump and helped Pence prepare for his vice presidential debate. Walker called Trump's comments "inexcusable" in a Twitter post Friday but didn't say anything about Trump's comments at the rally.
Ryan was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers. He began his comments by saying "there is a bit of an elephant in the room," referring to the lewd comments from Donald Trump that came to light Friday. Ryan did not mention Trump by name but said "it is a troubling situation. It is." But Ryan says he put out a statement Friday and "That is not what we are here to talk about today."
Trump supporters yelled "Donald Trump!" at Ryan throughout his speech, while most of the crowd cheered Ryan.
Ryan said the point of the annual "Fall Fest" event is to talk about the ideas of Wisconsin Republicans.
- Cheesehead-wearing Wisconsinite joins people from across country at inauguration
- Rep. Pocan volunteers instead of attending inauguration
- Wisconsin Republicans celebrate in D.C. ahead of Trump inauguration
- Wisconsin's congressional delegation prepares for Trump administration
- Inauguration has special meaning for one Wisconsin resident
- Republican, Democrat each share hopes for inauguration