By Karl de Vries
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Donald Trump on Saturday night slammed Hillary Clinton by citing her husband’s history of marital infidelity and alleged sexual misconduct, escalating the increasingly personal feud between the GOP front-runner and the leading Democratic presidential candidate.
“Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!” Trump tweeted.
The “penchant for sexism” line refers to an interview Hillary Clinton gave earlier in the week to the Des Moines Register, when she used those words to describe the real-estate mogul after he said that she got “schlonged” in her 2008 primary loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama, a remark widely seen as sexist.
Trump then appeared to threaten Clinton over the remark in a tweet the next day.
“Hillary, when you complain about ‘a penchant for sexism,’ who are you referring to. I have great respect for women. BE CAREFUL!” he said Wednesday night.
Also on Wednesday night, Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokeswoman, in effect called Hillary Clinton a hypocrite for scolding Trump over sexism while she remains married to Bill Clinton, whose personal life back in the 1990s was frequent tabloid fodder. While president, Clinton paid $850,000 to Paula Jones to settle a long-running sexual harassment lawsuit, admitted he had a sexual relationship with former Arkansas state employee Gennifer Flowers and engaged in a tryst with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to his impeachment in 1998.
“Hillary Clinton has some nerve to talk about the war on women and the bigotry toward women when she has a serious problem in her husband,” Pierson told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
Pierson went on to compare the Clinton campaign to “9-year-old little girls,” and accused Clinton of bullying.
“I can think of quite a few women who have been bullied by Hillary Clinton to hide her husband’s misogynist, sexist secrets,” Pierson said.
Trump’s tweet on Saturday comes one week after Hillary Clinton announced that the 42nd president will be hitting the campaign trail next month, calling him her “not so secret weapon.” For Hillary Clinton, it’s a chance to deploy the man once dubbed by President Barack Obama as the “explainer-in-chief” who remains popular with voters nearly 15 years after he left office and who still relishes life on the campaign trail.
Trump and Bill Clinton have a long relationship. The Clintons attended Trump’s third wedding in 2005 and the businessman is a donor to the Clinton Foundation. In August, The Washington Post reported that Clinton called Trump before he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination, encouraging the brash billionaire to “to play a larger role in the Republican Party.”
So far, Bill Clinton has largely avoided publicly campaigning for his wife or getting involved in the sniping between 2016 hopefuls, though he did call Trump “fact-free” during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett in September.
Back then, Clinton also said Trump’s criticisms of Hillary Clinton would be ripped apart in the context of a general election.
“You know, if he becomes the nominee, he’ll have to sort of hone his criticisms a little more finely because the facts will be easy to marshal,” he said. “But you know, he’s good at this, that’s what he does. And the people that he is telling it to now basically have only heard that story, so they believe it and it’s probably good politics for him.”
CNN’s Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.
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