AP-Donald Trump is once again raising former President Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities, a preview of how the billionaire businessman is likely to respond to general-election attacks from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her allies about his treatment of women.
Trump is receiving criticism, too, from within his own party as some high-profile Republicans say they won’t vote for him even though he has all but secured the nomination. Asked about his ability to unify the GOP, Trump is repeating his view that he doesn’t think it has to be unified and that he will gain Democratic votes to win in the fall.
“I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be — there would be something good about it,” Trump said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” airing Sunday. “But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense.”
While speaking at a pair of rallies in Washington state on Saturday, Trump repeatedly assailed the woman he’s dubbed “Crooked Hillary” while hardly sparing former Republicans rivals Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham repulsed by his chokehold on their party’s presidential nomination.
“She’s married to a man who was the worst abuser of women in the history of politics,” Trump said of Clinton as he addressed supporters at the Spokane Convention Center just days after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.
Trump appeared to be responding to news that Priorities USA, the lead super PAC backing Clinton, has already reserved $91 million in television advertising that will start next month. Much of the negative advertising against Trump is expected to focus on belittling statements he’s made about women in the past.
But Trump declared Saturday, “Two can play that game.”
“Hillary was an enabler and she treated these women horribly. Just remember this,” he said. “And some of these women were destroyed, not by him, but by the way that Hillary Clinton treated them after everything went down,” he said.
At a later rally, in Lynden, not far from the Canadian border, Trump repeated the former president’s denial of a relationship with a White House intern that would later lead to his impeachment. “Do you remember the famous, ‘I did not have sex with that woman?’” Trump asked. “And then a couple of months later, ‘I’m guilty.’ And she’s taking negative ads on me!”
Deriding a culture of political correctness in which, he says, men are “petrified to speak to women anymore,” Trump also defended himself as a great supporter of women and sought to downplay past comments he’s made about women in venues like the Howard Stern radio show in the days before he was a politician. He said some were made in the name of entertainment, while others, like his criticism of actress and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, were warranted.
“Who the hell wouldn’t speak badly about Rosie O’Donnell? She’s terrible,” he said.
Trump also continued a line of attack he rolled out on Friday evening in Oregon and on Twitter aimed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and favorite of the left whom some would like to see as Clinton’s running mate.
Trump repeatedly called Warren a “goofus” and suggested that she’d lied about her Native American background, an attack reminiscent of his insinuations that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and demands that he produce a birth certificate.
“She’s been going around pretending that she’s a minority,” said Trump, who alleged that Warren had made the claim “because she felt that her mother had high cheek bones.”
“Let’s see what she does when they say we want real proof that you’re a Native American,” he said.
Warren had insulted Trump earlier on Twitter, calling him “a bully who has a single play in his playbook.”
Trump also unveiled new lines of attack against Clinton, calling her “trigger happy,” claiming her foreign policy decisions as secretary of state had cost the country millions of dollars and led to millions of deaths, and claiming that she wants to “abolish the Second Amendment” and “take your guns away.” Clinton has said that the U.S. needs to rein in the notion that “anybody can have a gun, anywhere, anytime.”