Donald Trump had a feisty exchange of words with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over his lewd remarks about women as he expectedly brought in rape and sexual assault allegations against her husband and former US President Bill Clinton.
While Clinton alleged that the video reflects “the real” Trump, the Republican presidential nominee accused her husband Bill Clinton of sexual assault of women over the past several decades.
“Like everyone else, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw. You know, with prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on politics, policies, principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different,” Clinton said in response to a question.
“I said starting back in June that he was not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. And many Republicans and independents have said the same thing. What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is.
“But I think it is clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is. Because we have seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We have seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to ten. We have seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms,” she said.
“This is who Donald Trump is,” she charged.
Trump, who again apologised for his remarks, said this was a locker room conversation. “I’m not proud of it. I apologise to my family. I apologise to the American people. Certainly I am not proud of it. But this is locker room talk … Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk, and it’s one of those things,” Trump said in response to a question in the early phase of the debate.
The former realty television star refrained from giving a direct answer to the question if he actually kissed women or groped them without consent. “I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do … I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women,” the White House nominee said.
“Have you ever done those things?” moderator Anderson Cooper of the CNN asked again. “And I will tell you: No, I have not,” Trump said.
For the debate, Trump invited among the audience the four women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani escorted these women — Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton and Kathleen Wiley — into the debate hall and were seated directly in front of a pair of Democratic congressmen: Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
Donald Trump quickly brought in the allegations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton. “It’s just words, folks. It’s just words,” he said.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action. His was what he’s done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women. So you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women,” Trump alleged.
“Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman, at 12 years old, was raped at 12. Her client she represented got him off, and she’s seen laughing on two separate occasions, laughing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shelton, that young woman is here with us tonight,” he said.
“So don’t tell me about words. I apologise for those words. But it is things that people say. But what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law. He had to pay an USD 850,000 fine to one of the women, Paula Jones, who’s also here tonight,” he said.
“When Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.
Clinton dismissed these allegations as lies. “When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: When they go low, you go high,” she said.
“If this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in the video or the man on the stage respects women. But he never apologises for anything to anyone,” she alleged.