Josh Lederman? and Catherine Lucey
BEDFORD, N.H.: Donald Trump abruptly resurrected Bill Clinton’s impeachment on Thursday, adding the former president’s infidelities to the already-rancorous 2016 campaign. Trump warned voters in battleground New Hampshire that a Hillary Clinton victory would bring her husband’s sex scandal back to the White House.
It was Trump’s latest effort to bounce back from Monday night’s debate performance, which has been widely panned as lackluster. In contrast, Clinton has delivered a mostly positive message in the days since her debate performance re-energized her candidacy.
Clinton is stressing that her plans will solve the kind of kitchen-sink problems facing American families — the high cost of child care, mounting student debt burdens and unpaid family leave. Trump, though promising lower taxes and “jobs, jobs, jobs” for American workers, has intensified the dire warnings and personal attacks that have defined his outsider presidential bid.
He took it a step further on Thursday.
“The American people have had it with years and decades of Clinton corruption and scandal. Corruption and scandal,” Trump charged. “An impeachment for lying. An impeachment for lying. Remember that? Impeach.”
That was a reference to Bill Clinton. After an investigation by an independent counsel, the House approved formal impeachment charges in late 1998 in connection with President Clinton’s testimony about his affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, and other matters. He was acquitted of the impeachment charges by the Senate.
Trump’s team said he had been prepared to bring up the Lewinsky scandal during Monday night’s debate but decided otherwise because the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was in the room. Trump did not bring up Lewinsky by name on Thursday.
Shortly before Trump’s remarks, Clinton offered a more optimistic message to supporters in Iowa’s capital city.
“I want this election to be about something, not just against somebody,” she said in Des Moines.
Asked Thursday about the possibility that Trump would raise her husband’s infidelities, Clinton said: “He can run his campaign however he chooses. That’s up to him. I’m going to keep talking about the stakes in this election.”
In another reminder of how far this year’s campaign has veered into baffling territory, third-party candidate Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor, was being ridiculed after he was unable, in a television appearance, to name a single world leader he admired. The awkward moment drew immediate comparisons — including by Johnson himself — to his “Aleppo moment” earlier this month when he didn’t recognize the besieged city in Syria.
Johnson’s latest misstep played out during an appearance on MSNBC.