Before the second presidential debate — and after disparaging comments about women and sexual assault were leaked — Donald Trump and women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct held an impromptu press conference. The Clinton campaign called the conference a "stunt" and said Trump is continuing "his destructive race to the bottom." Bustle has also reached out to Bill Clinton for comment on the allegations. In a video posted live on Facebook, Trump sat between four women — Paula Jones, Kathy Shelton, Juanita Broaddrick, and Kathleen Willey — as they gave statements on why they're supporting Trump and against Hillary Clinton. "These four very courageous women have asked to be here, and it was our honor to help them," Trump said.
"We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom," Hillary Clinton For America communications director Jennifer Palmieri told Bustle in a statement. "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."
The conference was composed of four women who have made allegations against Bill Clinton. Paula Jones sued him for sexual harassment, and the case was settled out of court for $850,000. Kathy Shelton was reportedly raped by a man Hillary Clinton was appointed to defend. He took a plea bargain for a lesser charge. Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of raping her. At the time, his lawyers denied the allegations, and the current Clinton campaign has called the allegations unsubstantiated. As for Broaddrick's allegations that Hillary Clinton threatened her, Clinton's spokesperson previously said, Clinton "has spent her whole life standing up for women, and charges to the contrary are grossly unfair and untrue." Kathleen Willey accused Bill Clinton of unwanted sexual advances in his first term as president. Bustle has reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment on these claims.
The transcript of the conference is as follows:
Paula Jones: Well I’m here to support Mr. Trump because he’s going to make American great again and i think everybody else should vote for him. And I think they should all look at the fact that he's a good person, he’s not what other people have been saying he’s being, like Hillary said. Think about that.
Kathy Shelton: I’m also here to support Trump. I, at 12 years old, Hillary put me through something that you would never put a 12 year old through. She says she’s for women and children, and she was asked last year what happened, and she said she’s supposed to defend whether they did or not, and now she’s laughing on tape saying she knows they did it.
Trump: You went through a lot.
Shelton: Yes, sir, I did.
Juanita Broaddrick: Hi, I’m Juanita Broaddrick, and I’m here to support Donald Trump. I tweeted recently, and Mr. Trump retweeted it, that actions speak louder than words. 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.
Kathleen Willey: I’m Kathleen WIlley, and I am here to support Donald Trump. The reason for that is the first day that he announced for president, he said, I love this country and I want America to be great again. And I cried when he said that, because I think this is the greatest country in the world. I think that we can do anything, I think we can accomplish anything, I think that we can bring peace to this word, and I think Donald Trump can lead us to that point.
As the conference came to a close, one reporter attempted to ask Trump about the comments he made, including "grab her by the pussy" and "you can do anything." The reporter asked, "Why did you say you'd touch women without their consent?" Jones replied, "Why don’t ya’ll go ask Bill Clinton that? Go ahead. Ask Hillary as well."
This conference — in which reporters were told would be about debate prep — gives a clear idea about what Sunday night's debate might look like. With Trump's leaked comments along with these allegations against Hillary and Bill Clinton, the second presidential debate isn't one to miss.