Sunday 18 February 2018

Trump blasts 'worst abuser of women' Bill Clinton in warning to Hillary

Donald Trump elicits cheers from supporters at a rally in Lynden, Washington (AP)
Donald Trump elicits cheers from supporters at a rally in Lynden, Washington (AP)

Donald Trump has described former US president Bill Clinton as "the worst abuser of women in the history of politics", firing a warning shot across the bows of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her allies, should they attack the billionaire businessman over his treatment of the opposite sex.

Republican White House hopeful Mr Trump is also up against criticism from within his own party as some high-profile figures say they will not vote for him.

Asked about his ability to unify the party, Mr Trump says he did not think it had to be unified and that he would gain Democratic votes to win in the autumn.

"I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be - there would be something good about it," he told ABC's This Week programme. "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, Mr Trump repeatedly assailed the woman he has dubbed "Crooked Hillary" while hardly sparing former Republicans rivals Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, who are 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," Mr Trump said of the former US secretary of state as he addressed supporters at the Spokane Convention Centre, just days after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr Trump appeared to be responding to news that Priorities USA, the lead super PAC backing Mrs Clinton, has already reserved 91 million dollars in television advertising that will start next month.

Much of the negative advertising against Mr Trump is expected to focus on belittling statements he has made about women in the past. But Mr Trump declared on Saturday: "Two can play that game.

"Hillary was an enabler and she treated these women horribly. Just remember this. And some of these women were destroyed, not by him (Bill Clinton), but by the way that Hillary Clinton treated them after everything went down."

At a later rally in Lynden, not far from the Canadian border, Mr Trump repeated the former president's denial of a relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky that would later lead to his impeachment.

"Do you remember the famous, 'I did not have sex with that woman?'," Mr Trump asked. "And then a couple of months later, 'I'm guilty'. And she's (Hillary Clinton) taking negative ads on me!"

Deriding a culture of political correctness in which he says men are "petrified to speak to women any more", Mr Trump also defended himself as a great supporter of women and sought to downplay past comments he had 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.

Mr Trump also continued a line of attack he rolled out on Friday evening in Oregon and on Twitter aimed at Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and favourite of the left whom some would like to see as Mrs Clinton's running mate.

He repeatedly called Ms Warren a "goofus" and suggested that she had lied about her Native American background, an attack reminiscent of his insinuations that President Barack Obama was not born in the US and demands that he produce a birth certificate.

"She's been going around pretending that she's a minority," said Mr Trump, who alleged that Ms 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.

Ms Warren had insulted Mr Trump earlier on Twitter, calling him "a bully who has a single play in his playbook".

Mr Trump also unveiled new lines of attack against Mrs 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 saying that she wants to "abolish the Second Amendment" and "take your guns away".

Mrs Clinton has said that the US needs to rein in the notion that "anybody can have a gun, anywhere, any time".

Press Association

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