Former President Bill Clinton’s history of womanizing — and Hillary Clinton’s history of defending him and even attacking his accusers — is quickly becoming a major theme in the 2016 presidential contest.
Now, a woman who has long claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton said she’s going to do everything it takes to keep the Clintons out of the White House.
And this time, she has some serious help from a major supporter of billionaire Donald Trump.
Kathleen Willey, the former White House volunteer worker who claimed Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in a White House hallway during his first term, has signed on to be the national spokeswoman for a political action group being run by Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and Trump supporter.
And she plans to make public appearances and be featured in advertisements that will air all across the country during the 2016 campaign.
Willey’s and Stone’s newly revamped super PAC, renamed in January to the Rape Accountability Project for Education PAC, or RAPE PAC, is working to highlight the Clintons’ hypocrisy on issues like women’s rights and sexual assault.
The issue of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults has a new, sharper edge than it did a generation ago due to heightened awareness of workplace sexual assault and victim’s rights. Ironically, Hillary Clinton has tried to make both issues for her campaign.
But Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has characterized Hillary Clinton as an “enabler” of her husband’s indiscretions and alleged that she had helped to discredit his accusers.
Both Clintons have tried desperately not to engage, each uttering the identical “I have no response” when questioned separately about the matter.
But Hillary Clinton has plopped the question squarely in Americans’ laps not long before the Iowa caucuses opened voting in the 2016 campaign.
“I’m going to let the American voters decide what’s relevant and what’s not relevant,” she said when asked about Trump’s accusations during a recent Democratic debate.
Brad Johnson, a junior at the University of Cincinnati, where he is president of the College Republicans, sees the matter as a character question and thinks he sees hypocrisy.
Clinton is “all about women’s rights,” he says, yet “she was ruthless of women who accused her husband of rape.”
Clinton’s campaign has rejected the notion that she was actively involved in aggressive efforts by her husband’s presidential campaign and the Clinton White House to discredit women who claimed to have had affairs with her husband or to have been sexually assaulted by him.
It’s no small matter for Clinton, who draws a lopsided share of her support from female voters and for decades has made advocacy for women a big part of her persona. It’s especially important as she tries to attract a generation of younger women who only learned about the Clinton presidency in history class and have come of age in a time of different attitudes toward sexual harassment and abuse.
Clinton herself has made the treatment of sexual assault victims a key issue this campaign.
“I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault,” Clinton said in one of her campaign ads last year. “Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard and you have a right to believed. We’re with you.”
When a young woman asked Clinton at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire whether that message also applies to those who accused her husband of sexual impropriety, though, her answer was more convoluted.
“Everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence,” she said.
Willey’s new super PAC wants to remind voters of that alleged hypocrisy — loudly and repeatedly.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.