Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump is increasingly targeting former President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals on the campaign trial.
The Republican presidential front-runner lashed out at Clinton after his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said last week that Trump had repeatedly “demonstrated a penchant for sexism.”
“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!” Trump declared in a Monday-morning tweet.
And on Saturday, Trump latched onto Hillary Clinton’s “penchant for sexism” accusation and used the phrase against her.
“Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!” he tweeted.
During a “Fox & Friends” interview the next day, Trump elaborated on why he felt Bill Clinton was “fair game” as the businessman campaigns for the Republican nomination. Hillary Clinton is the front-runner on the Democratic side of the race.
“I think he is fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled, to put it mildly, because of all of the things that she’s talking to me about. I mean, she’s mentioning sexism,” Trump said.
“We have to fight fairly,” he added. “And she’s playing the women’s card. And it’s like, give me a break. And I’ve had so many women come up to me [and] say, ‘You’ve got to keep her out. She is just terrible.’ She’s playing that women’s card left and right. And women are more upset about it than anybody else, including most men. It’s very interesting.”
Trump didn’t spell out exactly to what he was referring, but Bill Clinton’s presidency was marred by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. In 1998, the House brought articles of impeachment against Clinton, who was then acquitted by the Senate.
And according to The Wall Street Journal, Clinton as president “paid $850,000 to settle a sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones stemming from an encounter when he was governor of Arkansas.”
Hillary Clinton accused Trump of sexism after he said she was “schlonged” by President Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. “Schlong” is a crude Yiddish word that refers to male genitals.
“I think he has to answer for what he says, and I assume that others will make the larger point about his language,” she told The Des Moines Register. “It’s not the first time he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism. Again, I’m not sure anybody’s surprised that he keeps pushing the envelope.”
Trump subsequently insisted “schlong” could be turned into a verb that means “beaten badly.”
“The term that I used was not a vulgar term,” he said Sunday on Fox News. “It means to be beaten badly. ‘Schlonged’ — she got ‘schlonged’ by the president. And that’s what happened to her with Obama. And it’s not a vulgar term.”
Trump, whose sex life has also been featured on tabloid front pages, has repeatedly faced criticism during his presidential campaign for his comments about women.
Notably, Fox host Megyn Kelly confronted Trump during a debate with his past remarks about women’s appearances. Trump generated even more headlines by blasting Kelly with what some people interpreted as a reference to menstruation. Trump said he was being misinterpreted.
On Sunday, Trump also suggested that Bill Clinton could be a drag on his wife’s campaign because of racial firestorms he ignited during her 2008 race.
During that contest, Clinton raised eyebrows when he downplayed Obama’s South Carolina win by pointing to Jesse Jackson’s own victories there in previous presidential races. Jackson, like Obama then, was vying to become the first black president. The African-American vote is particularly influential in the South Carolina primary.
Additionally, Clinton sparked backlash by saying Obama was pushing a “fairy tale” with his criticism of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s voting record on the Iraq War. Critics said Bill Clinton was suggesting that Obama’s candidacy itself was a fairy tale.
“Bill Clinton came out, went wild for her,” Trump recalled. “He was accused of being a racist by President Obama. I will never forget the look on his face. But he was accused of being a racist by President Obama — which he’s not, by the way. But I thought it was a very similar pattern.”
Trump and both Clintons used to be closer. The Clintons were invited to Trump’s 2005 wedding in Florida, and Bill Clinton had a private phone call with Trump just before he launched his 2016 campaign. The former president was also photographed golfing with Trump at a 2008 charity tournament.
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