Vice President Joe Biden says Donald Trump’s 2005 comments about groping women is “sexual assault” and an “abuse of power” and argues that allegations of sexual misconduct by former President Bill Clinton, the wife of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, “shouldn’t matter” in the 2016 White House race.
“What (Trump) said is textbook definition of sexual assault,” Biden said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is not a guy that should be representing the United States.”
In an audiotape made public Oct. 7, Trump is heard boasting that his celebrity power allows him to kiss and fondle women without invitation. Trump, a wealthy New York businessman and former reality TV star, has apologized for the comments.
“I live in a penthouse, billionaire, star. And I can do what I want. … his instinctive abuse of power,” Biden, a former Democratic presidential candidate, continued Sunday about Trump.
Trump, in an apparent attempt to turn the political tables on Hillary Clinton, has made a campaign issue out of several women accusing Bill Clinton, starting from when he was governor of Arkansas in the late-1970s and early ‘80s, of sexual improprieties and of Hillary Clinton having tried to discredit and silence the women.
“Shouldn’t matter,” Biden said about the relevance of Bill Clinton’s past in the presidential race. “I can’t make excuses for Bill Clinton. But he paid the price. He was impeached, expressed deep sorrow.”
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Clinton was impeached by a Republican-led House in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his extra-marital relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In 1999, the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton of both articles of impeachment.
The NBC interview is not the first time that Biden has said that Trump’s comments are tantamount to sexual assault.
He tweeted after the release of the audiotape: “The words are demeaning. Such behavior is an abuse of power. It’s not lewd. It’s sexual assault.”