Donald Trump plans to do tonight during the second presidential debate what Rudy Giuliani tried to do on all of the Sunday shows this morning, and that is to assume that Bill Clinton is guilty of what Donald Trump admitted to doing and that Hillary Clinton, by defending her husband, is guilty of abusing the women or enabling her husband — ostensibly as a way to put her on par with Donald Trump’s own admitted sexual attacks on women.
Here’s what you need to know about the facts.
In a sworn affidavit on Dec 23, 1998, Juanita Broaddrick denied an “unsubstantiated, hearsay claim” made by the Paula Jones’ legal team that Bill Clinton had invited her (as Jane Doe #5) to a hotel room and forced her to have sex.
Under oath, Broaddrick said the rumors were “untrue”. Here are the relevant sections of her affidavit, per the Washington Post (my bold):
3. I met President Clinton more than twenty years ago through family friends. Our introduction was not arranged or facilitated, in any way, by the Arkansas State Police. I have never been an Arkansas state employee or a federal employee. I have never discussed with Mr. Clinton the possibility of state or federal employment nor has he offered me any such position. I have had no further relations with him for the past (15) years.
4. During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies. Newspaper and tabloid reporters hounded me and my family, seeking corroboration of these tales. I repeatedly denied the allegations and requested that my family’s privacy be respected. These allegations are untrue and I had hoped that they would no longer haunt me, or cause further disruption to my family.
Republicans already tried all of this – rather desperately and without end – in the 90s. Monica Lewinsky said Republicans used her and she also said her relationship with Bill Clinton was consensual. (An argument can be made that as her superior and a very powerful man, Clinton should have avoided the relationship, but it wasn’t harassment or assault, according to Lewinsky.)
When Republicans tried to use Lewinsky against Hillary Clinton now, several decades later, it didn’t go over very well because obviously she didn’t have the affair and their party is full of men who have had multiple affairs. Additionally, it’s offensive to women that Republicans refuse to take Hillary Clinton as her own person and candidate, instead treating her as a mere appendage of her husband.
So now Donald Trump – who has had multiple affairs and has been married three times – has placed his eggs in the conspiracy basket of rumors about Juanita Broaddrick. The very things she denied when under oath.
Trump’s media (Breitbart) reports angrily on how this woman was raped and abused by the Clintons, as if Breitbart hasn’t been justifying and enabling abuse of women — including their own reporter who was assaulted by Trump’s then campaign manager. Donald Trump even retweeted an unverified Twitter account claiming to be Broaddrick Saturday night.
Except she denied these accusations under oath, when she could be held accountable for her claims. It’s also not relevant because again, Bill Clinton isn’t running for president. If accusations are gospel to Trump et al, then the many women who are currently accusing Donald Trump of rape and/or sexual assault and/or rape of a minor would be treated very differently by Republicans and Breitbart.
The good news is that Republicans suddenly care about rape, after all of these years of “redefining” rape as only “forcible” rape and refusing for a year to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
The bad news is that they only care if they can claim a political opponent raped someone. They do not seem to care about rape victims, sexual harassment victims, sexual assault victims, or intimate partner victims. Policy wise and rhetoric wise, Republicans have diminished these victims and sought to limit their recourse and help, even shelter. Donald Trump’s own campaign is stocked with a rogues gallery of abusers of women.
Furthermore, as Jake Tapper pointed out to Rudy Giuliani today, these charges against Hillary Clinton have been examined and there is no evidence that she silenced this woman or abused anyone.
The media ignores Republicans on this issue because they are going tinfoil again; it’s already been litigated in the 90s; Bill Clinton isn’t running for president; and last but not least, it’s a bit crazy for Donald Trump and his crew to feel entitled to forgiveness after he admitted to sexually assaulting women, but get mad at the wife of a man who had an affair for the way she reacted.
Donald Trump signaled that he will be bringing up Juanita Broaddrick tonight, wrongly acting as if he has the moral high ground to do so. By doing so, Trump will be gaslighting victims everywhere who are very familiar with the predator changing topics to avoid responsibility and blaming others – including Hillary Clinton – for their own actions. (If Hillary “enabled” Bill, that means all wives are responsible for the actions of their husbands – a charge Trump has made previously, by the way, when he blamed Hillary for Bill’s actions, saying she didn’t satisfy her husband.)
When Trump goes here, he’s going to enrage a nation of women who know full well that Donald Trump doesn’t care about Juanita Broaddrick or rape victims. And he doesn’t care that he will be throwing Hillary Clinton’s painful, personal memories in her face on national TV all because he can’t make a real case for himself.
Donald Trump is clinging to tinfoil because he is an admitted sexual assaulter of multiple women.
Update: Trump Republicans are telling me that Juanita Broaddrick lied under oath, which suggests their next move is to charge her for lying under oath — a great way to show they really care about women. It’s either they prove she is lying or they have to drop this.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.