Donald Trump reportedly once ridiculed women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse, saying the former president was a “victim” of “unattractive” women rather than an abuser.
The Republican politician has attempted to deflect criticism from his recent comments on groping by bringing women who have accused the former president of rape and sexual harassment as his guests to the second presidential debate. He also held a press conference prior to the event, in which one woman told press: “Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me”.
However, despite his now public stance that he is committed to supporting the women and ensuring their allegations against Ms Clinton's husband are heard, Mr Trump does not always appear to have been as supportive of the women.
In 1998, Mr Trump appeared on Fox News and said in response to allegations against Mr Clinton, according to the Daily Beast: “The whole thing is just so unattractive. Linda Tripp may be one of the most unattractive human beings I’ve ever seen- not women, human beings. She’s just an unattractive person. This [Lucianne] Goldberg person, her agent or whoever she is, is just a terrible woman.
“You look at Paula Jones, I mean the whole cast of characters. It’s like it’s from Hell. It’s a terrible group of people. The whole group, it’s truly unattractive cast of characters- Linda Tripp, Lucianne Goldberg- I mean, this woman- I watch her on television, just vomiting,” he reportedly added.
“She is so bad. The whole group- Paula Jones, Lewinsky- it’s just a really unattractive group. And I’m not just talking about physical, but I’m also talking about physical.”
Mr Trump then reportedly expressed sympathy with Mr Clinton, saying: “His victims are terrible. He is really a victim himself. But he put himself in that position.”
Mr Trump held a press conference hours before the live TV debate, which he streamed online on social media. In the footage, he can be seen sitting beside the women. In turn, they each cite their support for Mr Trump's candidacy and criticise the Clintons.
Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who settled a harassment case against Mr Clinton in 1999, says: “I'm here to support Mr Trump because he's here to make America great again, and I think everyone else should vote for him, look at the fact that he is a good person, not what other people have said.”
Kathy Shelton, who was allegedly raped aged 12 and her alleged attacker was defended in court by Hillary Clinton when she was a lawyer, says: “I'm also here to support Donald Trump. At 12 years old, Hillary Clinton put me through something you should never put a 12-year-old through. and she says she is for women and children.”
Juanita Broaddrick, who has publicly accused Mr Clinton of rape, says: “I'm Juanita Broaddrick and I'm here to support Donald Trump. I tweeted recently and Mr Trump retweeted recently that I was raped by Bill Clinton. Actions speak louder than words, Mr Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me.”
Mr Trump’s focus on allegations regarding Ms Clinton’s husband appear to be a new strategy of his campaign following allegations against Mr Trump which emerged this weekend.
In footage released online, Mr Trump appears to use offensive language to describe women. He has since been urged to stand aside as Republican candidate by some critics.
“I’ve gotta use some Tic-Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Mr Trump says in one video. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” he adds. “You can do anything… Grab ’em by the p****.”
During the debate Mr Trump refused to accept that this comments could be perceived as sexual assault, saying his comments were "locker room talk". He said: "I have great respect for women. Noboday has more respect for women than I do.... I was embarassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women."
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