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Donald Trump Hints At Attacking Hillary Clinton Over Husband's Affairs


Throughout this presidential race, we've seen that when Donald Trump is attacked, he fights back. Hillary Clinton has used Trump's words about women against him. And this week, Trump hinted that he'd like to use Clinton's personal history against her, meaning her husband's extramarital affairs.

Also, today, in a series of tweets, the Republican nominee continued to attack a former Miss Universe who says he mistreated her because of her looks. NPR's Sarah McCammon reports.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: As Monday night's debate was wrapping up, Donald Trump revealed he'd been having an inner dialogue with himself.


DONALD TRUMP: I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family. And I said to myself I can't do it.

MCCAMMON: So what was Trump getting at? Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor and a key Trump surrogate, gave a hint in the spin room afterward.


RUDY GIULIANI: I sure would've talked about what she did to Monica Lewinsky - what that woman standing there did to Monica Lewinsky, trying to paint her as an insane young woman.

MCCAMMON: Giuliani said Trump was too gentlemanly to say what he would've said about Hillary Clinton's handling of her husband's affair with the White House intern before adding, if she didn't know what he was up to, she's too stupid to be president.

The day after the debate, Trump said on Fox that he was tempted to go there after Clinton attacked him for his past comments about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's weight.


TRUMP: And I didn't feel comfortable doing it. I think I did the right thing. I did - it's not worth a point.

MCCAMMON: Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, agreed but criticized Clinton for often questioning the veracity of women, including Lewinsky.

Here she is this week on ABC's "The View."


PAULA FARIS: What does he have to gain?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: I'm not - I'm not advising him to go there. It's fair game to think about how Hillary Clinton treated those women after the fact.

MCCAMMON: Yesterday, in Bedford, N.H., Trump railed against the Clinton's history of scandals and seemed to tip toe in the direction of bringing up the former president's infidelity.


TRUMP: The Clintons are the sordid past. We will be the very bright and clean future.

MCCAMMON: Trump, of course, has his own less-than-pristine past. As a New York real estate developer, he often courted tabloid coverage of his personal life, including his two messy divorces and his own extramarital philandering. That may be why in a 2008 CNN interview, Trump was dismissive of the Lewinsky affair.


TRUMP: Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense.

MCCAMMON: Good or bad, Trump has often used his own publicity to his benefit. He grabbed the spotlight again today with an early-morning tweet storm after claiming this week that he'd saved Alicia Machado's job when the Miss Universe company wanted to fire her for gaining weight. Trump called Machado disgusting and accused Hillary Clinton of bad judgment in making her story a campaign issue.

Republican strategist Katie Packer says Trump is saying all the wrong things about women.

KATIE PACKER: Because they feel like no woman should be punished in her professional life for the actions of her husband. And so it's really a bad strategic move for Trump. And I would caution any other Republican out there - certainly, any Republican that's on the ballot - to avoid those talking points that are coming from the Trump campaign and to steer clear of this because it's a losing strategic scenario for Republicans.

MCCAMMON: Trump's rhetoric is troubling even for some of his supporters like Michelle Burgess who came to the rally in New Hampshire. Burgess says she's not personally offended by Trump's remarks, but...

MICHELLE BURGESS: I think - I think women just take offense by it. I mean, it's just raw. I think women want to be accepted for who they are.

MCCAMMON: The way Trump talks about women, including his Democratic rival, may determine whether many female voters can accept him. Sarah McCammon, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.