Donald Trump concluded his Sunday night “debate prep” by hosting a press conference with women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault or rape.
Trump, the Republican presidential nominee mired in a scandal over lewd, 11-year-old hot mic comments leaked on Friday, posted video of the press conference held in St. Louis, Mo. to his Facebook page less than 90 minutes before the second presidential debate was due to begin.
He was flanked by Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, who have each previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Some have also accused Hillary Clinton of intimidating them.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Broaddrick said. “Mr. Trump may have said some bad words but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”
Also present was Kathy Shelton. Hillary Clinton defended the man who raped a then 12-year-old Shelton in 1975.
“Hillary put me through something that you would never put a 12 year old through,” Shelton said. “And she says she’s for women and children.”
Trump said little outside of introducing the four women.
“These four very courageous women have asked to be here and it was our honor to help them,” Trump said.
When a member of the media attempted shouting a question at Trump near the end of the video, about whether he felt he was entitled to touch women inappropriately because he was famous, Jones responded: “Why don’t y’all ask Bill Clinton that?”
I've always cared about them. Roll the tapes. Agree with Hillary that victims (and not just donors) should be heard. https://t.co/j0dsvWjlNp— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) October 10, 2016
Hillary for America Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri responded to the Trump press conference in a statement.
“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom," the statement said. "Hillary Clinton understands the opportunity in this town hall is to talk to voters on stage and in the audience about the issues that matter to them, and this stunt doesn’t change that. If Donald Trump doesn’t see that, that’s his loss. As always, she’s prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way.”
Audio of Trump and then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush talking on a hot mic in 2005 was unearthed on Friday, showing the GOP nominee bragging about trying to sleep with a married woman and making lewd references to female genitalia.
Trump apologized for the remarks in a video on Friday night, however, numerous Republicans have either un-endorsed Trump or called for him to step down as the party's nominee.
Trump had previously suggested he could make Bill Clinton's history with women a topic in the first debate, but he ultimately demurred, he said later because Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, was in the audience. Trump signaled throughout the weekend, however, that the sex assault claims against Clinton would be back on the table for Sunday's debate.