Multiple media outlets called out Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's attacks on Bill Clinton's past personal life after he cited Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones to claim that the former president has a “terrible record of women abuse.” Media noted that Trump previously dismissed such scrutiny as “totally unimportant” and “out of control.”
Donald Trump Attacks Bill Clinton, Citing Monica Lewinsky Scandal
Trump Attacks Bill Clinton's Personal Life As He Begins To Campaign For Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump's claimed that former President Bill Clinton had a “terrible record of women abuse,” in reference to scandals involving former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. From the December 29 ABC News article:
Donald Trump today clarified his Monday tweet that Bill Clinton had a “terrible record of women abuse.”
“Well, if you look at the different situations; of course, we can name many of them. I can get you a list and I'll have it sent to your office in two seconds,” Trump said this morning via telephone on the “Today” show.
“But there were certainly a lot of abuse of women, and you look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them.”
In mentioning Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Clinton had an affair, and Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton during his presidency, Trump was referring to ghosts of Clinton's past as the former president prepares to hit the campaign trail next week. [ABC News, 12/29/15]
Trump Has Repeatedly Dismissed Scrutiny Of Bill Clinton's Personal Life
In 2000 Book Trump Called Out “Hypocrisy” Of “Moralists In Congress And In The Media” Focusing On Bill Clinton's Personal Life. In his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Donald Trump wrote that “the American people don't care about the private lives ... of our political leaders so long as they are doing the job,” and noted the hypocrisy of some of Clinton's critics in Congress and the media:
If the Clinton affair proves anything it is that the American people don't care about the private lives and personal of our political leaders so long as they are doing the job.
I got a chuckle out of all the moralists in Congress and in the media who expressed public outrage at the president's immoral behavior. I happen to know that one U.S. senator leading the pack of attackers spent more than a new nights with his twenty-something girlfriend at a hotel I own. There's also a conservative columnist, married, who was particularly rough on Clinton in this regard. He also brought his girlfriend to my resorts for the weekend. Their hypocrisy is amazing. [2000, The America We Deserve via Google Books]
During 2008 Election Season, Trump Called Bill Clinton's Involvement With Monica Lewinsky “Totally Unimportant,” And His Impeachment “Nonsense.” On the October 15, 2008, edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Donald Trump said during an interview that President Bush deserved impeachment far more than Bill Clinton, saying that Bill Clinton got into trouble “with something that was totally important”:
DONALD TRUMP: [George W. Bush] lied. He got us into the war with lies. Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true. [Raw Story, 10/15/08]
After Announcing His Presidential Run In June 2015, Donald Trump Downplayed Clinton's Scandals Involving Lewinsky And Jones. On the June 17, 2015 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, the day after formally declaring his intention to pursue the Republican nomination for the presidency, Donald Trump picked Bill Clinton as the “best” president of the previous four and downplayed controversial aspects of his private life:
MARK HALPERIN: So of the four, who's the best?
DONALD TRUMP: Well...
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, or Obama?
HALPERIN: And why?
TRUMP: I would really say Clinton, probably. I would have to say Clinton.
HALPERIN: And why?
TRUMP: There was a little spirit. And frankly, he would have been - had he not met Monica, had he not met Paula, had he not met various and sundry semi-beautiful women, he would have had a much better deal going. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 6/17/15]
Media Highlight Trump's Hypocrisy
CNN's New Day Highlights Trump's Repeated Dismissal Of Lewinsky. During the January 4 edition of CNN's New Day, co-host Chris Cuomo pointed out in a phone interview with Trump that “years ago you said Monica Lewinsky, they shouldn't have chased after it like this, Bill Clinton's sex life shouldn't be an issue. Now you're saying it's like one of the main issues.” Later in the show, co-host Alisyn Camerota noted that Trump had “said that the GOP going after [Bill Clinton] was silly and it was ridiculous, and they shouldn't have gone after his sex life,” and that Trump “support[ed] Bill Clinton and laugh[ed] it off in June -- that was six months ago.” [CNN, New Day, 1/4/16]
NBC's Chuck Todd: In Late 1990s, Trump Criticized Congressional Scrutiny Of Clinton As “Out Of Control.” On the January 3 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd aired a segment on Donald Trump's efforts to tarnish Hillary Clinton's presidential bid by “trying to make Bill Clinton's personal problems a political liability for her.” But Todd explained that in the past, Trump was dismissive of these kinds of attacks on Bill Clinton:
CHUCK TODD: Trump wasn't always so critical of the former president's personal life. The Clintons were guests at Trump's third wedding, and in the late '90s, Trump criticized “Moralists in Congress who expressed public outrage at the president's immoral behavior.”
DONALD TRUMP [CLIP]: He had sex, but now they talk about the kind of sex, where it took place, where it was, on the desk, off the desk. I mean, it's so out of control.
TODD: Even in 2008 Trump called Clinton's affair “totally unimportant.” And Trump has his own complicated marital history. [NBC, Meet the Press, 1/3/16]
Fox's Howard Kurtz Cites 2008 CNN Video That Shows Trump Dismissing Attacks On Bill Clinton Personal Life As “Totally Unimportant.” On the January 3 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz introduced a discussion of Donald Trump's attacks against the Clintons, saying, “CNN dug up footage showing that the last time [Hillary Clinton] ran for president, Trump dismissed the womanizing and lying charges that led to the former president's impeachment.” In the video, Trump is shown saying, “look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant, and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense.” [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 1/3/16]