One of several women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct is speaking out, saying Hillary Clinton shouldn't be exempt from criticism over her handling of the affairs that nearly ended her husband's presidency in the 1990s.
Kathleen Willey -- a former volunteer White House aide who accused Bill Clinton of making aggressive, unwanted advances during a private meeting in 1993 -- said she holds Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, responsible for smearing her and the many other women who have come forward with stories about their treatment at the hands of her husband.
"This no longer about Bill Clinton's transgressions or his infidelities or girlfriends or sex ... it's not about that anymore," Willey told the Washington Examiner. "What it's about is the actions that his wife has taken against the women that he has raped and assaulted."
None of the allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Bill Clinton during his decades in the public eye have ever been proven definitively. The former president has denied the accusations, admitting only to consensual relations with Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers.
As Donald Trump clumsily navigated a controversy this week over 19-year-old comments he made to a former Miss Universe winner, a debate raged about whether similarly dated scandals with ties to his opponent — each of which involved the alleged mistreatment of women — were fair game on the campaign trail.
Republican strategists agreed that attacking Hillary Clinton for the exploits of her husband could easily backfire, and Democrats preemptively dismissed the tactic as unfair and potentially sexist.
But a few of Trump's allies have begun to lay the groundwork for an assault that focuses on Hillary Clinton's role in silencing her husband's self-professed lovers and alleged victims. They say Hillary Clinton's involvement in efforts to discredit and disparage women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment, assault and even rape make the scandals relevant to the presidential race.
Willey said she has bristled at Hillary Clinton's attempts to convince voters of her commitment to protecting women.
"Hillary Clinton's been calling me a bimbo for 19 years, as well as Paula [Jones] and Juanita [Broaddrick] and Gennifer," Willey said. "She, you know, doesn't have any room to talk.”
Broaddrick has accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978 during his campaign for governor of Arkansas. Because she initially filed an affidavit in the Jones suit denying the rape out of fear of retaliation, then recounted the rape to federal investigators in the Whitewater probe, many Clinton allies tried at the time to paint her as an unreliable witness.
Willey, too, was caught up in the explosive Jones case. Her encounter with Bill Clinton was exposed publicly when, in 1997, Matt Drudge published her name on his popular Drudge Report website.