Ex-Sen. Kelly Ayotte: President Trump is still not a role model

(CNN)More than a year after his inauguration, former Sen. Kelly Ayotte still does not think of President Donald Trump as a role model.

The New Hampshire Republican, who lost her re-election bid in 2016, said in a televised debate in October of that year that she would call the then-candidate a role model. She quickly walked back the comment, saying it was "a mistake."
Ayotte told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast from the University of Chicago and CNN, that her thoughts on that have not changed.
"I have to say that as I've reflected even more so on that debate question that you get asked, it's really hard to find, unfortunately, role models in the political context, and I'm not sure that's where I want my children to turn," she said.
    Ayotte said she does not know whether her initial role model remark hurt her chances in the election.
    "It's hard to know in that election," she contended. "It could be just as damaging as the fact that I didn't vote for (Trump)."
    Ayotte, who also served as the state's first female attorney general, disavowed her party's candidate after his controversial 2005 "Access Hollywood" comments surfaced.
    "So after the 'Access Hollywood' tapes came out, I realized in my heart that I couldn't sleep about this," Ayotte recalled to Axelrod. "I mean, my background is, I was a prosecutor. I've dealt with sexual assault victims, domestic violence. I'm the mother of a then-12-year-old little girl, and I just decided that for me it was more important to, for my family and especially my daughter, to know where I stood than to think about this as winning an election."
    Asked whether she regretted that decision, Ayotte, who wrote in Vice President Mike Pence's name on Election Day, said she does not.