Former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani speaks at the Cisco Connect 2013 conference in Warsaw, Poland, November 26, 2013.
Pawel Supernak/EPA

Team Trump has adultery on its mind

Towards the end of Monday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump was clearly annoyed by Hillary Clinton’s criticism of his misogyny, but he declared to the audience that he would not say what he wanted to say. “You want to know the truth?” he asked rhetorically, “I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.’”

The next morning, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on MSNBC and told a national television audience that the Republican was referring to Bill Clinton’s adultery. It was apparently “inappropriate” to bring this up on Monday night, but not on Tuesday morning.

Nevertheless, Team Trump seemed quite excited yesterday to generate chatter about the topic Trump “was going to” bring up during the debate. Politico had this report yesterday:
Hillary Clinton’s decision to stand by her husband and attack former White House intern Monica Lewinsky when news of a sexual relationship between the two broke in 1998 prove that the former secretary of state is “too stupid to be president,” Rudy Giuliani said Monday night.

The former New York City mayor made the remark, captured on video and posted to Twitter by Elite Daily writer Alexandra Svokos, in response to a question about Clinton’s attack on Trump’s past comments about women.
Politico had a separate report this morning on the fact that “threats emanated from Trump Tower on Tuesday that the Republican nominee was preparing to name-check Bill Clinton’s mistresses.”

Some skepticism is probably in order – largely because I find it hard to imagine Democrats getting this lucky.

First, Giuliani is perhaps the most ridiculous person in the Trump campaign to take the lead on this issue. The former mayor, currently on his third wife, told his second wife about their separation through a press conference after marching in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade with his mistress. (In the divorce proceedings that followed, Giuliani’s second wife accused Giuliani of being a serial adulterer.)

This is, in other words, a topic Giuliani may want to avoid.

Second, and on a related note, Trump himself has been candid at times about his own extra-marital affairs, making this an especially bizarre line of attack. I’m trying to imagine what, exactly, Trump might say: “Bill Clinton had affairs, and so did I, so obviously you shouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”

And finally, who exactly is the intended audience for this message? The underlying idea, apparently, is that voters should blame a wife if a husband strays. It’s evidence of her, as Giuliani put it, being “stupid.”

If there’s political wisdom behind such a strategy, it’s hiding well.

Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani

Team Trump has adultery on its mind