Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is making good on his unsubtle threat in the first debate to bring up Bill Clinton’s past infidelities.
Only an hour before the second debate, Trump held a Facebook live with Clinton accusers Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey. Trump called it his “debate preparations.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016
Donald Trump is not running for president against Bill Clinton. Blaming a woman for her husband’s actions is a sexist trope — one the Trump campaign has trotted out before, attacking Hillary Clinton for the actions of her aide’s husband, who is not associated with the campaign.
Nor do any alleged actions of Bill Clinton exonerate Trump, who has a long history of misogynistic behavior, sexual slurs aimed at women, and adultery, and is now under fire for a tape of him bragging about sexual assault.
In 1999, Trump expressed his sympathy for Hillary Clinton over Bill’s actions, and his admiration for how she handled her husband’s behavior.
— CNN (@CNN) October 9, 2016
Each of the women has a different allegation, all from decades ago. Trump and his surrogates have claimed that his comments are mitigated because they were made 11 years ago.
Juanita Broaddrick alleges that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978. Her story isn’t new: it surfaced in 1992 when Clinton was running for president the first time. In 1998, during the impeachment trial against Monica Lewinsky, Broaddrick denied the story in a sworn affidavit, which she recanted in 1999, when she went public about the allegations.
She also alleges that a few weeks after the encounter, she met Hillary Clinton who thanked her for “everything you are doing in Bill’s campaign,” and that as she tried to leave Hillary, Clinton grabbed her arm and told her, “Do you understand everything you do?” which Broaddrick took as an implied threat.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 9, 2016
Paula Jones alleges that in 1991, while governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton propositioned her and exposed himself. This too came up during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial; Jones’ own sexual harassment case was dismissed by a federal judge and settled by Clinton in 1998 with no apology or admission of guilt. Kathleen Willey is a former White House volunteer who said that Clinton groped her in his office in 1993. An independent prosecutor concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove her allegation before a jury.
Kathy Shelton’s case is a bit different. When Hillary Clinton was 27 years old and running a legal aid clinic for underprivileged defendants, she defended Shelton’s alleged rapist. The charges were reduced from first-degree rape to “unlawful fondling of a child under 14,” due to prosecutorial mishandling and a lack of credible evidence. In 2014, unpublished audio of Clinton discussing the case was discovered by the Washington Free Beacon, in which she “giggles” and describes the case in a way that “may strike some listeners as callous or cynical about the legal process,” according to The Washington Post.
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