What Has Trump’s Rape Claim Against Bill Got To Do With Hillary?

When responding to questions about the New York Times article that disparages Trump’s attitudes and behavior toward women, presidential hopeful Donald Trump brings up an old rape claim against former President Bill Clinton. If Hillary Clinton is elected president in November, her husband will be First Gentleman, a role that will likely be as significant as that of First Lady. This makes Trump’s allegations regarding his earlier sexual misconduct relevant to the presidential race. Hillary’s responses to the rape claim in the past and today are also pertinent.

Trump Turns Attention to the Rape Claim Against Clinton

After fielding Hannity’s questions about the NYT article that vilified Trump for his demeaning behaviors toward women, Trump followed Hannity’s lead and turned the tables on Bill Clinton. He raised the issues of alleged rape, sexual assaults, and sexual harassment that resulted in massive settlements to close certain cases, an impeachment trial, and the loss of Clinton’s law license.

The rape case Trump was referring to was Juanita Broaddrick’s 1978 claim that Bill Clinton raped her in a hotel room when she was working on his election campaign; he was running for governor of Arkansas at the time. Bill Clinton has consistently denied charges of sexual assault and harassment, arguing that all of his sexual affairs were consensual, supposedly including those in which monetary settlements were finally agreed upon. Broaddrick’s interactions with Hillary shortly after the alleged rape convinced her that Hillary knew about the assault – and probably about the numerous other allegations of sexual harassment and worse.

Therefore, not only would the public have to deal with a First Gentleman with a personal history pockmarked with sexual misdemeanors, if not outright crimes, the electorate would also need to contend with a potential President who, according to Trump, is an enabler.

Trump Uses Rape Claim to Go After Hillary

In the video, Trump accused Hillary of asserting that she represents women when, according to him, she has actively hurt women who raised rape or assault claims against her husband.

“She’s married to a man who is the worst abuser of women in the history of politics, she’s married to a man who hurt many women, if you look, and you study. Hillary, hurt many women, the women that he abused. She’s married to a man who got impeached for lying… She was an unbelievably nasty mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.”

Hillary said she will not respond to the rape claims and will not fight a dirty campaign, in spite of Trump’s incitement. It may prove difficult, if not impossible, for her to avoid dealing with the sexual accusations against her husband and her part in allegedly silencing the women.

Trying to Get to Trump Via the Women in His Life

The NYT article quotes interviews with women who were allegedly sexually harassed by Trump. Trump has always maintained that he behaves with the utmost respect toward women, looking for ambitious and capable women to promote to upper-level positions within his companies.

Rowanne Brewer Lane, a former model who dated Trump, came forward to defend him. In her interview on Fox News, she says that her words were taken out of context. While the NYT article accurately describes her first encounter with Trump, it put a negative spin on what happened.

In the interview, Lane describes having had a pleasant conversation with Trump for about 20 minutes after she arrived at his pool party directly from a photo shoot. Not having a swim suit, Trump offered her one and she accepted. She said she felt complimented when he showed her off to his other guests around the pool as “a stunning Trump girl” and not demeaned. The NYT article wrote instead that this was “a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew.”

Other women have come to his defense, and it appears that Trump’s relationships with women are complex. He can be sexist in some instances and very supportive and egalitarian in other instances. No woman has ever raised rape claims or sexual harassment claims against Trump.

[Photo by Ted S. Warren/AP images]