AMBRIDGE, Pa. — Amid rumors of potentially more tapes showing him making inappropriate comments in the past, Donald Trump issued a threat to rival Hillary Clinton, saying Monday that if he keeps getting attacked, he’ll keep talking about the women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault and harassment.
In his first public rally since Sunday night’s debate and last Friday’s disclosure of a 2005 videotape showing him making shockingly lewd comments about women, the Republican presidential nominee defended his “inappropriate words” but insisted that Bill Clinton has treated women far worse. And he attacked Hillary Clinton for supposedly doing nothing to stop it.
“I was getting beaten up for 72 hours, on all of the networks, for inappropriate words 12 years ago, locker room talk, whatever you want to call it,” Trump said. “But I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute, I used inappropriate words, but Bill Clinton sexually assaulted innocent women, and Hillary Clinton attacked those women viciously.’ One of them said more viciously than he attacked.”
Rumors have swirled of other potentially damaging videos from his days as host of “The Apprentice” and other past interviews floating around. And Trump seemed to confirm there could be more shoes to drop and issued a threat to his critics. “They want to release more tapes [of me] saying inappropriate things, we’ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things,” the GOP nominee declared.
After weeks of threatening to go there, Trump invited as guests to Sunday’s debate three of Bill Clinton’s accusers — Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey — as well as Kathy Shelton, who was involved in a child rape case in which Hillary Clinton defended the accused attacker.
Trump suggested he’d done so because the media had never covered the women’s stories, a claim that ignores decades of Bill Clinton’s extramarital dalliances, including the president’s relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to his impeachment. Speaking to a few thousand supporters here in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, a swing region in battleground Pennsylvania, Trump presented himself as someone who could help get them media attention.
“It was both very beautiful and very sad. They have been trying to get their feelings out for so long, and the media wouldn’t take it,” Trump said. “So last night I decided we would expose the hypocrisy of the Clintons and the media.”
The thrice-married businessman has been on the defensive about his treatment of women, including former Miss Universe Alicia Machado who said that Trump, as head of the pageant, publicly humiliated her when she gained weight. On Friday, a video emerged of Trump bragging in explicit terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women. The conversation was captured on an open microphone during a 2005 interview with “Access Hollywood,” and it included Trump boasting about his attempt to seduce a married woman and bragging that he could get away with “anything” with women because of his celebrity status.
Echoing the statements he made at Sunday’s debate, Trump on Monday again offered a feeble apology, saying he regretted the words on the tape. But again he shifted the focus to Bill Clinton, whom he described as the “worst abuser of women” and “a predator.” And he cast Hillary Clinton in almost harsher terms, attacking her credibility on women’s issues because she had supposedly “enabled” her husband’s alleged behavior and attacked his accusers.
“For many decades, Hillary Clinton has been deeply familiar with her husband’s predatory behavior and instead of trying to stop him, she made it possible for him to take advantage of even more women,” Trump said. “She put even more women in harm’s way, and then she goes out and says, ‘I love women.’ … She’s a total hypocrite.”
What Trump did not mention is that he once defended Bill Clinton against the scandals — calling Clinton a “victim” and his attackers “unattractive.” “They made Watergate out of what really should have been nothing,” Trump said in a 1998 Fox News interview recently unearthed by ABC News.
But with Trump threatening to continue his attacks on Bill Clinton’s personal scandals, all seems to be forgiven between Trump and the former president’s accusers. Appearing in the spin room Sunday night, both Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey said they would be willing to campaign with the GOP nominee in coming weeks, if asked.
At the same time, Trump doubled down on his threat to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails and other alleged wrongdoing if he wins the presidency.
But speaking to supporters here, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, said he’d spoken earlier Monday to an unnamed federal judge who suggested that Clinton had admitted to a federal crime while discussing her emails during the debate Sunday. When Trump took the stage minutes later, he took up the mantle too — repeating his suggestion that he’d make it a priority to investigate his Democratic rival.
As the crowd broke into a deafening chant of “Lock her up! Lock her up!’ Trump paused and smiled. “Special prosecutor, here we come,” he said.