By Sandy Fitzgerald
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host and former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough argued Monday that Hillary Clinton’s role in her husband’s years of sex scandals should be examined as part of her candidacy.
“This is about Hillary Clinton,” Scarborough said on his early morning program. “She’s claiming of being a feminist and [she’s] going to have to account for how she’s treated or accused or bullied these women who were sexually harassed according to them.”
The comments were made in response to a Friday article by The New York Times’ editorial board, which criticized GOP front-runner Donald Trump for using former President Bill Clinton’s checkered past as political fodder against his wife’s current presidential campaign.
“Mr. Trump, of course, is not drawing distinctions between Bill Clinton’s behavior and Hillary Clinton’s attacks on her husband’s accusers,” The Times’ editors said. “His aim is to dredge up an ancient scandal and tar Mrs. Clinton with it in a clearly sexist fashion. There should be no place for that kind of politics in this country.”
But, Scarborough argued that given Clinton’s recent statements about believing women who make accusations until their claims are disproven, and her accusations of Trump being a “sexist” make the issue a matter to be examined as she seeks the nation’s highest office.
“The New York Times editorial said Bill Clinton’s sexual past is his sexual past,” said Scarborough. “America’s heard about it and don’t care anymore. This is about Hillary Clinton. She’s claiming of being a feminist and going to have to account for how she’s treated or accused or bullied these women who were sexually harassed according to them.
“I wonder how they look at Bill Cosby [when] they said, their quote was ‘drag a dollar bill through a trailer park and it’s amazing what will happen.'”
Former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, who often appears on the show to add commentary, vehemently disagreed with Scarborough’s contention that the argument is “about sexual harassment in the workplace . . . not about Bill Clinton’s sexual actions.”
“Raising your voice at me doesn’t make this better,” Ford told Scarborough. “Comparing Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby is wrong. Mrs. Clinton’s past, I can’t answer your question.”
“I am fascinated to hear why comparing Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby is wrong,” Scarborough replied.
“Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby’s cases are completely different and we can show [that],” Ford replied, pointing out that more than 50 women have accused the comedian of sexual assault.
“I don’t think if Bill Clinton’s things weren’t undone by these things, why should Hillary Clinton’s career be undone by these things. Some of these comparisons are unfair. I’m not defending Bill Clinton’s past.”
But Ford said that Clinton’s statement that women who claim sexual assault should be believed until they can be disproven is the “case with anything involving any allegations,” but that he is an “independent thinker” who was not going to accuse Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski of taking Trump’s side in the argument.
Meanwhile, Mark Halperin, weighing in on the argument, said that in most of the Clinton scandals, the allegations were “not disproven, but confirmed and acknowledged by President Clinton, I think . . . he had a relationship with Jennifer Flowers and paid Paula Jones off in a settlement and has acknowledged much of what Monica says happened. Those are three prominent examples.”