Donald Trump couldn’t wait beyond the holiday season to strike back at Hillary Clinton for labeling him a political bully and serial misogynist.
Clinton complained in an interview last week that Trump has “a penchant for sexism” after the billionaire businessman used a crude sexual term to describe her loss to President Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign. “It’s not the first time he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism,” Clinton told the Des Moines Register. “Again, I’m not sure anybody’s surprised that he keeps pushing the envelope."
On Sunday, Trump pushed again — first by denouncing Clinton for “playing the woman’s card” and then warning that her husband, former President Bill Clinton — who survived impeachment over his affair with a young White House intern — would be fair game for him in a general election contest.
“She’s playing that woman’s card left and right, and women are more upset about it than anybody else, including most men,” Trump told Fox News.
The Republican presidential frontrunner also staunchly stood by a message he issued Saturday on Twitter that said: “Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate!” according to a report by Politico. Trump told Fox News he considers former Democratic President Bill Clinton “fair game.”
“The ‘penchant for sexism’ was exactly her words, and I just turned them,” he said. “I thought it was fine.”
In a campaign in which Trump has mocked and degraded women so many times that it’s hard to keep track, he seemed to have finally strayed into no-man’s land last week during a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. That’s where he used the gross sexual term to characterize Clinton’s 2008 loss and repeatedly declared it “disgusting” that Clinton took a bathroom break during a recent Democratic presidential debate.
But it has become a reality of the 2016 GOP presidential campaign that virtually nothing Trump says — no matter how mean or outrageous or sexist — can hurt him with his followers. The more the media howls about Trump’s transgressions, the more his core supporters dig in their heels.
This helps to explain why Trump continues to dominate a crowded GOP presidential field with 39 percent of the likely Republican vote, well ahead of challengers including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll.
During interviews aired today by Fox and ABC News, Trump crowed that he holds “a very, very strong” lead in the GOP race. He was also highly dismissive of Clinton, indicating that he would have no trouble beating her in the general election.
Despite Clinton’s relatively high negative numbers and her problems in overcoming voter distrust of her integrity, recent national polls show that she would do well against Trump in a general election matchup.
For instance, Trump would fall short in a general election competition held today against Clinton, according to a Dec. 21 Reuters/Ipsos poll. In that one-on-one match-up, Clinton would take 40 percent support of all voters to Trump's 29 percent.