ST. LOUIS, MO (WPRI) — In a Facebook live video posted 90 minutes before the start of Sunday night’s televised presidential town hall debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a brief press conference with women who accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting or harassing them.
The panel included Paula Jones, who sued the former president for sexual harassment. Bill Clinton reached a $850,000 settlement with Jones but did not apologize or admit guilt.
Kathy Shelton, who said Hillary Clinton knowingly defended her childhood rapist, was also on the panel. Clinton was working as a public defender at the time. Her client took a plea deal on a lesser charge, and while Clinton expressed horror at the crime, she was also recorded on tape laughing about procedural details of the case.
Juanita Broadderick, who sued Bill Clinton for raping her in the 1970’s, and Kathleen Willey, who also alleged Clinton sexually assaulted her, rounded out Trump’s panel. Broadderick’s case against Clinton was dismissed; Willey’s claims were never independently verified.
The surprise news conference featured brief remarks from each of the women. The video was streamed live on Trump’s Facebook.
“These four very courageous women have asked to be here and it was our honor to help them,” said Trump at the beginning of the video.
Jones and Shelton gave brief remarks, followed by Broadderick.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Broadderick said. “Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me, and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”
The less than four-minute press conference concluded with remarks from Willey and Trump thanking the reporters for attending. He did not answer questions shouted by the press.
Hillary Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri released a statement calling the video a “stunt.”
“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom,” she said. “Hillary Clinton understands the opportunity in this town hall is to talk to voters on stage and in the audience about the issues that matter to them, and this stunt doesn’t change that. If Donald Trump doesn’t see that, that’s his loss. As always, she’s prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way.”
The unannounced move by the Trump campaign comes two days after the Washington Post leaked an 11-year-old video recording of Trump using sexually explicit profanity and making lewd remarks about women.
The town hall-style presidential debate begins at 9 p.m. Sunday night.
Watch the full video here:
Includes reports from the Associated Press.