Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump (Photos: AP)
Fresh from setting off the latest firestorm of his presidential campaign — this time for vulgar comments he made last week about Hillary Clinton — Donald Trump continued to troll the Democratic frontrunner over the weekend, suggesting former President Bill Clinton’s past will dog her on the campaign trail.
“Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!”
Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)December 27, 2015
The tweet was in response to Hillary Clinton’s assertion that the Republican frontrunner has “demonstrated a penchant for sexism” in his quest for the GOP presidential nominee.
“I really deplore the tone of his campaign, the inflammatory rhetoric that he is using to divide people, and his going after groups of people with hateful, incendiary rhetoric,” Clinton told the Des Moines Register. “Nothing really surprises me anymore. I don’t know that he has any boundaries at all. His bigotry, his bluster, his bullying have become his campaign. And he has to keep sort of upping the stakes and going even further.”
At a campaign rally in Michigan on Tuesday, Trump called the former secretary of state’s bathroom break during the Democratic debate “disgusting,” and that she had been “schlonged” by Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.
On Wednesday, Trump warned Clinton that she should “be careful” when calling other candidates sexist.
Hillary, when you complain about “a penchant for sexism,” who are you referring to. I have great respect for women. BE CAREFUL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)December 23, 2015
It’s not the first time a GOP hopeful has threatened to use Bill Clinton’s infamous impropriety against Hillary this election cycle.
Last year, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul lashed out at Democrats for pushing the idea of the GOP’s “war on women” while forgiving former Bill Clinton for his “predatory” affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“The Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women,” Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office.
“And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this,” Paul continued. “He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and it should be something we shouldn’t want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.“
Bill Clinton’s sexual relationship with Lewinsky, then a 22-year-old White House intern, led to his impeachment in 1998 and subsequent trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton was eventually acquitted of those charges.
“This isn’t having an affair,” Paul added. “I mean, this isn’t me saying, ‘Oh, he’s had an affair, we shouldn’t talk to him.’ Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then [Democrats] have the gall to stand up and say, ‘Republicans are having a war on women’? So, yes, I think it’s a factor. Now, it’s not Hillary’s fault. But it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history.”
It’s also not the first time Bill Clinton’s name has been invoked while discussing Trump’s comments about Hillary Clinton.
Last week, CNN’s Don Lemon ended a segment during which both his guests compared the outrage over Trump’s comments to Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky.
“It’s gonna take a lot more for me to get upset at a woman who enabled a guy who turned the Oval Office into a frat house and his intern into a humidor,” Kurt Schlichter, a conservative lawyer, said on Lemon’s CNN show. “[Trump’s] running against a sexual harasser and abuser’s enabler. So again, I don’t know why we’re not talking about that.”
“We’re not talking about that because it has nothing to do with what happened,” Lemon responded. “She’s not her husband. Her husband has been impeached for that.”
But on Fox News, Trump said Bill Clinton is “fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled because of all the things that [Hillary’s] talking to me about.”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)December 28, 2015
For his part, Bill Clinton has spoken relatively fondly about Donald Trump.
“He’s a master brander,” Clinton said during an interview with CNN in September. “And when you’ve got a lot of people running, and people are trying, you’ve got to make distinctions. Being able to put a personal stamp on it so people identify who you are certainly counts for something, at least in the beginning.”
Clinton was asked if he believed Trump could win the GOP nomination.
“I think so; how do I know?” Clinton said. “But he’s got a lot of pizzazz and zip, he’s branded himself in a clear way, and he’s generated some excitement. And it remains to be seen what’s going to happen.”
A few days later, though, Clinton clarified those compliments.
“Well, the thing about branding is, you don’t have to be — you can be fact-free,” he said. “You can’t and you shouldn’t be able to insult your way to the White House.”