NYT Evades Bill Clinton's Sordid Sexual History, Blames Trump's Friendship Treachery Instead

Donald Trump called out Hillary Clinton on Twitter for hypocrisy in accusing the GOP of being anti-woman, yet relying on serial philanderer Bill Clinton’s help while running for president. But you wouldn’t have learned that until deep into the front-page story in Wednesday’s New York Times. Political reporter Amy Chozick spent the first several paragraphs piling up shallow evidence of the former friendship between Trump and Bill Clinton in order to accuse Trump of treachery, while dodging and ducking the serious sexual accusations long festering around the former president.

As the headline demonstrated, Chozick shifted the focus from Clinton’s sexual past (which led to his impeachment) to Trump’s alleged betrayal of some grand friendship: “Ex-Ally Trump Now Heaps Scorn on Bill Clinton.”

Chozick, who has fiercely defended Hillary Clinton from Republican attacks, expanded her shield to cover the multitude of allegations against her husband, the former president.

There’s been a rise of millennial activists eager to stamp the label of “rape culture” on anything that doesn’t adhere to whatever wave of feminism we’re on now. The Clintons’ media allies may fear those same youthful liberals might be appalled to learn Bill Clinton’s sexual history, and Hillary’s aggressive enabling of it, including trashing those women who accused him of sexual harassment and worse. Naturally, the Times has no interest in furthering that line of inquiry, and Chozick strained to avoid providing actual relevant history.

For years, President Bill Clinton was the best friend Donald J. Trump always hoped to have.

When scandal engulfed Mr. Clinton’s White House, Mr. Trump leapt to the president’s defense. “He’s probably got the toughest skin I’ve ever seen, and I think he’s a terrific guy,” Mr. Trump told CNN.

Then there were Mr. Trump’s pitches to the former president to settle in a gilded Trump building in Manhattan when he and Hillary Clinton left the White House. They moved to Westchester instead. His overtures for them to vacation at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., were also rebuffed. The Clintons preferred the Dominican Republic.

When Mr. Clinton had trouble joining a conservative Westchester golf club, Mr. Trump boasted that he welcomed the former president to a newly built Trump National Golf Club, a five-minute drive from the Clintons’ Chappaqua, N.Y., home.

....

In the past week, any semblance of a friendship between Mr. Trump and Bill Clinton came to an ugly end as the former president and his wife’s presidential campaign found themselves in a muddy battle over sexism with the Republican candidate who has upended this election cycle with his insults and attacks.

If Chozick meany “muddy” as in murky, she could have easily clarified matters, with reporting from Clinton’s sex scandals and adultery and harassment accusations, stretching back decades to his terms as Arkansas governor and into the Oval Office. But Chozick did no such thing.

“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The criticism of Mr. Clinton’s personal life comes as Mrs. Clinton is increasingly relying on the former president, mentioning him in almost every speech as she praises his economic record. But Mr. Trump’s attacks on him are now rippling through the race, with other candidates and even a prominent newspaper columnist suggesting that Mr. Clinton’s sexual history is fair game.

....

Mr. Trump’s turn against the former president started last week when Mrs. Clinton, in response to Mr. Trump’s use of a crude sexual reference to describe her loss to Barack Obama in 2008, accused him of having a “penchant for sexism.”

On Saturday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter: “Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!”

Chozick didn’t elucidate Trump’s references to the former president’s sordid sexual history:

He went further on Tuesday, saying that in Mr. Clinton’s political career, “there were certainly a lot of abuse of women, and you look at whether it’s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them.”

Chozick even forwarded the thought that the focus might help Hillary’s campaign.

Mr. Trump’s tactics could backfire. Mrs. Clinton had some of her highest approval ratings ever after revelations that Mr. Clinton had a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, a 22-year-old White House intern.

This month at a New Hampshire town hall, a young woman asked Mrs. Clinton about several women who alleged they were sexually harassed by Mr. Clinton.

“You say that all rape victims should be believed,” the woman said. “Should we believe them as well?”

Mrs. Clinton did not hesitate. “Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence,” she said, with an awkward smile, as the crowd applauded.

Chozick de-emphasized Bill’s predilections, leading her sentences with the alleged female troubles among women, of the political variety:

Mr. Trump has been the most direct in his attacks on Mr. Clinton, but Republicans, concerned about the party’s declining appeal to women, have long considered using the former president’s personal life and Mrs. Clinton’s response to the women who alleged extramarital affairs.

....

Mr. Trump also opens himself up to criticism about his own personal life, including allegations that he assaulted Ivana Trump, which he has denied and which the former Mrs. Trump recently backed away from.

James Taranto at Opinion Journal also spotted how Chozick was trying to change the subject.

Others accused Trump of hypocrisy. Amy Chozick of the New York Times employed the journalist’s first-person “some”: “Some have suggested that Mr. Trump, whose own affair with Marla Maples and his split from his first wife, Ivana Trump, were splashed across tabloids, is an imperfect messenger on the issue of fidelity.”

But of course the “issue” is not “fidelity.” Trump is criticizing Mr. Clinton not for cheating on the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee but for sexually harassing (and, by implication, for purportedly assaulting) other women....And Trump is perfectly situated to level this attack, for precisely the reasons some Chozicks imagine otherwise. He himself is a voluptuary, not a moralist, which immunizes him through pure logic against any accusation of hypocrisy.

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.