Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took the offensive Sunday ahead of his debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton, tweeting a Breitbart interview with three women who accused Clinton’s husband of sexual assault.
Trump has been beating back criticism since Friday of hot-mic comments he made in 2005, bragging about trying to bed a married woman and about groping women since he became a celebrity. The video was released by the Washington Post.
Earlier in the day Sunday, Trump hit back at some three dozen Republicans who have called for him to step aside as the party’s standard-bearer.
Breitbart posted an interview with Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones. The three women lashed out at Hillary Clinton, saying the former secretary of state should “frighten” all women.
“She will annihilate any enemy. All of her enemies. Anybody who has spoken against her,” Willey said. “Across the board for I don’t know how many years. She will get rid of them.”
The three women allege they were sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton. No criminal charges ever were brought against him based on their allegations.
The issue was expected to surface during Sunday’s presidential debate. Trump has said he held back during the first debate in deference to the presence of the Clintons' daughter, Chelsea.
Throughout the campaign, Trump regularly has demeaned women and painted Hillary Clinton as an enabler of her husband’s sexual escapades.
“Women who are plain victims of Bill Clinton’s actions were demeaned and attacked in many ways by Hillary Clinton herself. So it undermines her credibility to say she’s a champion of women when she was the organizer of the defense of Bill Clinton,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, who Sunday denied reports he had advised Trump to get out of the race.
Highlighting Bill Clinton’s infidelities presents some sticky issues for Trump, especially in light of the tape released Friday. Trump is on his third wife, Melania, and openly has bragged about his sexual prowess and affairs. He was still married to his first wife, Ivana, when he started seeing Marla Maples, who became his second wife.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have been married for four decades. Their 41st anniversary is Tuesday.
Trump Wednesday sent a survey to supporters asking for ideas on attacking Clinton, suggesting the Clinton Foundation, her email server and Benghazi.
Republican lawmakers have advised Trump not to broach the subject of Bill Clinton’s sex life.
“I hope he doesn’t,” Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the Senate GOP’s campaign chairman, told Politico. “He oughta stick to how he’s going to make life better for the average American worker.”
"He's going to lose a lot of … voters [if he brings up Bill Clinton] and those voters aren't just progressives," Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, warned.