Donald Trump has launched a televised assault on former president Bill Clinton in a bid to salvage his own White House hopes, Sky News reports.The Republican presidential candidate went on the attack in his second debate with Hillary Clinton in St Louis.
In an ill-tempered 90-minute clash, Mr Trump responded to revelations of his boasts about how he treats women. “Mine were words, his was action,” he said of Bill Clinton. “What he’s done to women, there’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women.”
He said Mrs Clinton “should be ashamed of herself” for her support of her husband. Mr Trump had invited four women who have made accusations against the Clintons to take seats in the debate audience. They included Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, who have both made high-profile claims.
Mrs Clinton quoted Michelle Obama in her response: “When they go low, we go high.” She accused Mr Trump of diversion tactics “because of the Republicans deserting his campaign”. Dozens of senior Republican figures have distanced themselves from Mr Trump over the recording of his 2005 comments. Some have urged him to leave the race.
He said he had never assaulted women and repeated his apology for the ‘locker room banter’. He said: “I’m not proud of it.” “I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women.” Mrs Clinton said: “He says this is not who he is. I think it is clear to anyone who has heard it, it is exactly who he is.”
The debate was held in a town-hall style, with questions from members of the public. It was closely contested and packed with cheap shots. A massive social media response included mention that the pair did not shake hands at the start of the debate.
A CNN/ORC snap poll of people who watched the contest found that 57% thought Mrs Clinton was the victor, compared to 34% for Mr Trump. A YouGov survey meanwhile had 47% of respondents saying Mrs Clinton came out on top, with 42% saying Mr Trump performed better.
Mrs Clinton was asked about paid speeches she had given to Wall Street bankers and which have been leaked by WikiLeaks. In one she she talked of having different positions in public and private. She said she was quoting lessons from Abraham Lincoln.
Mr Trump joked that “Honest Abe” didn’t lie – “big difference between him and you”. The pair clashed on familiar territory of immigration, dealing with Islamic State and taxes. Mr Trump again came under fire for not revealing tax returns. On Mrs Clinton’s email scandal, Mr Trump said: “If I win, I’m going to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies and so much deception.
“You should be ashamed of yourself.” He said she would be “in jail” if he were in charge of the country’s legal system. Mrs Clinton again called out Mr Trump’s statements for fact-checking and she again faced repeated interruptions from her rival. He claimed the debate moderators were acting in her favour.
He also publicly disagreed with his running mate Mike Pence on Syria policy and apparently confirmed he has not paid federal tax for years. Mrs Clinton said she had received letters from teachers about the “Trump effect” and an increase in bullying because of the rhetoric Mr Trump has used.
He insisted his Twitter row with a former Miss Universe did not show a lack of discipline to be commander in chief. Mr Trump said Mrs Clinton had “tremendous hate in her heart” after she called half of his supporters “deplorables”. The biggest laugh of the night came when they were asked if there was anything they respected about each other.
Mrs Clinton said she admired Mr Trump’s children. He said he admired that “she never quits”. With a month to go until the election, Mrs Clinton’s poll lead over Mr Trump has increased since she was judged to have won the first debate. She leads in national surveys and in critical swing states.
The two will face off again in Las Vegas on 19 October, their last televised clash before Election Day on 8 November.