Donald Trump may live in a (very classy) glass house, but that won’t stop him from throwing stones. On Monday, the grotesquely misogynistic Republican nominee released an Instagram ad titled, “Is Hillary really protecting women?” The 15-second spot layers clips of women tearfully accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assault over a menacing photograph of the former president smoking a cigar — until the voices of the victims are drowned out by Hillary Clinton’s maniacal laughter.
Among the clips featured in the ad is a 1999 Dateline interview with Juanita Broaddrick, a former nursing-home administrator who claims Clinton raped her in Arkansas 38 years ago. Broaddrick reiterated that charge via Twitter this past January.
Over the past few weeks, as Trump’s critics have drawn attention to his vast back catalogue of sexist commentary, the Donald’s primary rebuttal has been, “I know Bill Clinton is a misogynist, but what am I?”
“Nobody in this country and maybe in the history of this country politically was worse than Bill Clinton with women,” Trump told a crowd in Oregon in early May. The Donald went on to accuse Hillary Clinton of being, in essence, her rapist husband’s co-conspirator.
“She would go after these women and destroy their lives,” Trump said. “She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.”
The attack is unlikely to significantly undermine the Democratic front-runner’s standing with female voters — this dirty laundry has been airing out for decades now. Still, Trump’s affinity for describing Bill’s baggage in lurid (if unsubstantiated) detail makes attacking the mogul on the grounds of misogyny a costlier gambit for the Clinton camp. And it forces pro-Clinton feminists to confront the tension between Hillary’s disregard for her husband’s accusers and the contemporary norm of giving self-identified victims of sex crimes the benefit of the doubt.
Of course, Trump would not benefit from voters believing the accounts of every self-identified rape victim. Nor, for that matter, would he benefit from voters accepting a certain real-estate mogul’s analysis of Bill Clinton’s accusers.
“The whole group, it’s truly an unattractive cast of characters — Linda Tripp, Lucianne Goldberg — I mean, this woman, I watch her on television, just vomiting. She is so bad. The whole group — Paula Jones, Lewinsky — it’s just a really unattractive group,” Trump told Fox News in 1998. “And I’m not just talking about physical, but I am also talking about physical.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with his victims,” Trump added. “His victims are terrible. He is really a victim himself.”