Washington — Any year-end holiday moratorium on US presidential campaign feuding ended on Monday with Donald Trump unleashing new attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and blasting her husband Bill’s “terrible record” with women.
Trump, leading the pack of Republican White House contenders, revived a flash point issue that he brought up last week when he issued a warning about campaigning with former president Clinton after Hillary deplored Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric.
The message was an ominous one: Bill Clinton’s history of marital infidelity will be a drag on his wife’s campaign to become the first female commander-in-chief in US history.
“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!” Trump posted to his five million Twitter followers.
Hours earlier, the billionaire real estate mogul noted how Clinton “has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate!”
And in a Sunday interview on Fox News Trump declared Bill Clinton “fair game, because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled because of all the things that she’s talking to me about.”
The remark referred to a recent interview that Hillary Clinton gave to Iowa’s Des Moines Register, in which she said Trump had “demonstrated a penchant for sexism” after he used vulgar language to criticise Clinton’s 2008 campaign loss to Barack Obama, and declared her bathroom break at the latest Democratic debate “disgusting.”
During the debate Clinton accused Trump of being “ISIS’s best recruiter,” referring to the self-described Islamic State extremist group, and said the radical jihadists were using videos of Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks as a recruiting tool.
Trump demanded an apology, but none was given.
Clinton and Trump are locked in battle for their respective parties’ presidential nominations.
Barely a month before the first votes are cast in the state-by-state nomination process, the top candidates appear to be looking past the primaries and going head to head, with Trump reviving a subject that nearly derailed Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Clinton admitted to having an “inappropriate,” intimate relationship with an intern while he was president.
Other rumours and accusations of sexual impropriety dating back to his time as governor of Arkansas have dogged Clinton for years.
Republicans in Congress pressed vigorously for Clinton’s removal from office. The House of Representatives impeached the president for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, but the Senate acquitted him on both counts.
Trump made no mention of Bill Clinton at a rally Monday night in New Hampshire, but he did describe a Trump-Clinton general election matchup as “her worst nightmare” and warned rivals against attacking his campaign.
“Every single person that’s gone after me is gone,” he said to applause at a middle school in Nashua.
He also trained considerable anger on the publisher of New Hampshire’s Union-Leader newspaper, which endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for the Republican nomination.
On Monday the publisher, Joseph McQuaid, penned a scathing front-page editorial that described Trump as a “crude blowhard” who insults the intelligence of New Hampshire voters.
Trump responded by calling McQuaid “Christie’s lapdog” and saying the paper was “a pile of garbage.” — AFP.