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Story highlights

A Texas congressman explained his continued support of Trump

He said he might drop his support if Trump hypothetically admitted to liking rape

(CNN) —  

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold struggled Tuesday to identify the line Donald Trump would have to cross before he lost his support, saying he’d “consider” pulling it when posed with a hypothetical scenario in which Trump said he liked raping women. Farenthold later apologized.

Farenthold was interviewed by MSNBC host Chris Hayes on the political fallout from a leaked video showing Trump, among other things, saying he could grab women by the genitals.

Asking the Republican congressman about the recent wave of party leaders, like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan, pulling their support from Trump, Hayes tried to size up Farenthold’s commitment.

“Until he does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary, I’m still in,” Farenthold said.

Hayes posed a hypothetical: “If someone off the record, in a locker room – this was not in a locker room, it was a workplace – said, ‘I really like raping women,’ would that be locker-room talk?”

Farenthold answered, “Again, it depends, you don’t know the entire context of all this.”

“But you would be fine with that?” Hayes interjected.

“I don’t like what he said,” Farenthold began to answer.

So Hayes repeated his hypothetical: “If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying ‘I really like to rape women,’ you would continue to endorse him?”

“Again … that would be bad. And I’d have to consider it, but again, we’re talking about what Donald Trump said 10 years ago as opposed to what Hillary Clinton has done in the past two or three years,” Farenthold said. “She’s been a failure.”

Hayes returned to the question and asked if there was a single, conceivable thing Trump could do to earn Farenthold’s opposition.

“Absolutely, but I think actions speak louder than words,” Farenthold said, dismissing the controversy over the leaked tape as a “kerfuffle.”

After the interview finished, Farenthold tweeted an apology.

“I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women,” he tweeted. “During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by the anchor’s use of 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.”

Finally, Hayes brought up allegations that Trump has abused women, including an underage woman.

Farenthold returned, “Well, let’s talk about Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton defending what her husband did, too.”