CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Texas congressman apologized Tuesday for not making clear on national TV where he would draw the line in supporting Republican Donald Trump's bid for the White House.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was asked a hypothetical question Tuesday night on MSNBC by anchor Chris Hayes: "If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying, 'I really like to rape women.' You would continue to endorse him?"
Farenthold answered, "That would be bad ... I'd consider it."
Shortly after the interview, Farenthold took to Twitter to issue a statement: "I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women. During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by a hypothetical question. I do not, and have not ever condoned rape or violence against women. That is not the kind of man I believe Donald Trump to be."
His comments and apology set off a firestorm on social media as he found himself deep in the national debate on how much Trump's supporters will tolerate as their candidate seeks the Oval Office.
In a telephone interview with the Caller-Times, Farenthold further distanced himself from his hesitant answer on MSNBC, calling Hayes "unprofessional in asking" a hypothetical question and himself "foolish" in attempting to answer.
"I would never support a rapist, and I would not support anyone that said they like rape," Farenthold said.
The national debate over the loyalty of Trump's supporters to the mercurial and polarizing candidate was reignited Friday after a 2005 video surfaced featuring Trump making comments about how he could kiss and grope women without their permission.
Farenthold on Tuesday insisted he is not a blind loyalist to Trump but an ardent opponent of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
"He's better than Hillary Clinton," Farenthold said of his support for Trump. "That's the number one reason, because it's a binary choice."
Farenthold was elected to represent Texas’ 27th Congressional District in 2010. He won the Republican primary this spring.
He faces Democratic challenger Raul "Roy" Barrera in the November election.
Follow Matt Woolbright on Twitter: @reportermatt