Donald Trump's latest election pivot has the presumptive Republican nominee trying to recast himself as a friend to women. But Trump's apparent concern for women, like many of the positions he's tried on for size, is a new development.
The Trump campaign released an ad on Monday that uses Bill Clinton's history with women, including allegations of sexual assault, to attack Hillary Clinton. The 20-second spot features the voices of three women, including Juanita Broaddrick, who alleged that Bill Clinton raped her during his 1978 gubernatorial campaign; Kathleen Willey, who alleged that Clinton sexually assaulted her when she was a White House volunteer in 1993; and Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern who had a sexual relationship with then-President Clinton in 1995.
Trump isn't necessarily trying to improve his standing with women, exactly. He's just using everything he can to hurt Hillary Clinton's. His latest political posture, then, seems to be women's rights advocate.
But in a 1999 interview with Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, Trump had nothing to say about the man he now calls "one of the greatest women abusers of our time." Well, except one thing (emphasis mine):
He handled the Monica situation disgracefully. It's sad because he would go down as a great President if he had not had this scandal. People would have been more forgiving if he'd had an affair with a really beautiful woman of sophistication. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were on a different level. Now Clinton can't get into golf clubs in Westchester. A former President begging to get in a golf club. It's unthinkable.
In the same interview, he told Dowd, presciently, that he might "do badly" with women if he were to run for president:
I might do badly. They know me better than anybody else. Women are much tougher and more calculating than men. I relate better to women. I go out with the most beautiful women in the world. Certain guys tell me they want women of substance, not beautiful models. It just means they can't get beautiful models.