It’s war: Trump’s all-out attack on the Clintons for their sexual past as he says Bill abused women and Hillary ‘attacked those women viciously’ – and she responds by calling him a liar and a racist, by David Martosko.
The debate night that will be discussed for generations in Political Science classes – and Women’s Studies seminars – launched with a bang on Sunday, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squaring off in St. Louis, Missouri.
There was no handshake. Only polite nods at each other. The white-hot stares, straight ahead, came 90 minutes after Trump held a photo-op press event featuring four women with sex-assault accusations from the Clintons’ past.
[C]o-moderator Anderson Cooper [told Trump] bluntly that he had admitted to ‘sexual assault’ in the audio – referring to a remark saying that powerful men could touch women whenever they wanted. ‘Grab them by the p***y,’ he said as one example. ‘You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women,’ Cooper charged.
Trump insisted, as he did Friday night, that ‘this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine were words, his were actions.’ …
But then he turned the discussion on the Clintons. ‘Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those women, attacked them viciously.’
Earlier in the night Trump had hosted a press event with Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton. Broaddrick accused former President Clinton of raping her when he was the Arkansas attorney general. She later pointed a finger at Hillary Clinton for intimidating her into silence as her husband launched his 1992 bid for the presidency. Willey and Jones made similar accusations against this year’s Democratic nominee for the White House.
He also noted that Shelton was sitting in the front row. The Arkansas native was 12 when she was raped by a 41-year-old drifter. Hillary Clinton was her attacker’s lawyer. ‘Her client – she represented – she got him off,’ Trump said, recalling that she was recorded ‘laughing [about the case] on two separate tapes.’ …
Overall, however, Trump bristled at having to respond to his sexually graphic words from 2005.
He complained that ‘where you have ISIS chopping off heads … when you have wars and horrible, horrible sights happening,’ talking about his lewd banter was a waste of time.
Look how tough the moderators are on Trump. Yet never anything remotely this tough for the Clintons, either now or in the 1990s.
Cooper asked Trump repeatedly if he had ever made unwanted sexual advances on a woman, or touched her without consent.
‘No, I will tell you, I have not,’ he responded.
Hillary argues the lewd remarks make Trump unfit for the Presidency. What does that make her husband? And her? They did stuff, Trump just talked.
After saying she had disagreed with previous Republican nominees on substance, ‘Donald Trump is different. I said back in June that he was not fit to serve as president and commander-in-chief. … But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is. He has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, Muslims, and many others.’
How unfair of the moderators not to ask the obvious question. Anyway, onto Clinton’s deplorables…
Trump’s biggest zinger came when Clinton was asked about a fundraising speech where she said ‘half’ of Trump’s voting base belong in ‘baskets of deplorables,’ and branded the same group as ‘irredeemable’ because of their views.
Trump pushed back, framing himself as a uniting force in the face of divisive rhetoric. ‘We have a divided nation because of people like her. Believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart.’
The line drew audible gasps in the auditorium.
When she said “deplorables,” she meant it. When she said “irredeemable” – “they were irredeemable,” you didn’t mention that – but when she said they were irredeemable, to me that might have been even worse.’
‘She has tremendous hatred. This country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama and that’s what you are getting with her,’ Trump said. …
On an exchange about her deleted emails:
Clinton replied: ‘Its just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.’
‘Because you’d be in jail,’ he snapped.
Who won? Who knows, for the parts where they tore each other down.
Sunday’s backdrop was all about Friday’s tawdry scandal: The Trump campaign found itself sucker-punched with the audio tape that revealed him making vulgar and sexually explicit comments about women 11 years ago. …
But it also stiffened Trump’s resolve. He has said consistently for 16 months that ‘the dishonest media’ were out to get him, and bemoaned the necessity of battling Clinton while also absorbing hits from biased news outlets.
Few reporters have drawn what may be an obvious parallel between the crudeness of Trump’s remarks … and Clinton’s history of looking the other way while her husband engaged in behavior more abusive than what Trump named.
TRUMP: “… If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. There has never been so many lies, so much exception. There has never been anything like it. We will have a special prosecutor. I go out and speak and the people of this country are furious. The long time workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this with e-mails. You get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena you delete 33,000 e-mails and acid watch them or bleach them. An expensive process. We will get a special prosecutor and look into it. You know what, people have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing 1/5 of what you have done. You should be a shamed.”
CLINTON: “Everything he said is absolutely false. It would be impossible to be fact checking Donald all the time. I would never get to talk and make lives better for people. Once again, go to Hillary clinton.com. You can fact check trump in realtime. Last time at the first debate we had millions of people fact checking and we will have millions more fact checking. It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”
TRUMP: “Because you would be in jail.”
COOPER: “We want to remind the audience to please not talk out loud. Do not applaud. You are wasting time.”
Trump challenges Clinton to spend her own money on campaign, by Stephen Dinan.
Donald Trump challenged Hillary Clinton to spend her own money on her presidential campaign Sunday, saying it would give her some independence from her donors.
Mrs. Clinton, in the second presidential debate, had blasted the 2010 Citizens United court decision that opened the door to groups spending unlimited money to get a message out in elections, and said she would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn that ruling.
Mr. Trump countered that Mrs. Clinton is more beholden to those big-money interests than he is, saying he’s going to spend upwards of $100 million of his own money on his campaign. He challenged her to pony up as much as $30 million of the $250 million she and her husband have earned since they left the White House in 2001.
“Why aren’t you putting some money in?” he demanded.
Mrs. Clinton did not respond to the challenge.