In the wake of the release of an 11-year old tape showing the 2016 Republican presidential nominee bragging to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about how his wealth and fame allow him to commit sexual assault with impunity, Donald Trump's strategy going into the second presidential debate was to counter by promoting the stories of the women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault.
While Trump is actively promoting these women's stories, hosting a panel with three Clinton's alleged victims shortly before the debate, the billionaire real estate developer has previously dismissed similar allegations against the husband of his general election opponent. Trump insisted Clinton was the “victim,” and he insulted the appearance of the former president's accusers.
“The whole thing, it’s just so unattractive,” Trump told Neil Cavuto during a Fox News interview in 1998, in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal:
“Linda Tripp may be one of the most unattractive human beings I’ve ever seen—not women, human beings. She’s just an unattractive person. This [Lucianne] Goldberg person, her agent or whatever she is, is just a terrible woman. You look at Paula Jones, I mean the whole cast of characters...It’s like it’s from Hell. It’s a terrible group of people.”
Tripp was a White House staffer and a friend of Lewinsky, in whom Lewinsky confided. Goldberg, a literary agent, convinced Tripp to secretly record conversations with Lewinsky that were later made public.
“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 added, noting that he would prefer watching the scandal unfold if the victims were supermodels. “And I’m not just talking about physical, but I am also talking about physical.”
Trump noted that he was largely on Clinton's side when it came to the question's about the president's sexual conduct. “I don’t necessarily agree with his victims. His victims are terrible. He is really a victim himself. But he put himself in that position,” he said.
Trump also gave high marks to Clinton's tenure in the Oval Office in general. “I think he's terrific. I think the guy's terrific,” Trump said. “I love him as a president because business has been great, the economy's been booming. We have to give him credit.”
H/T ABC News