Trump, Clinton Trade Compliments After 'Ugly' Second Debate: 'She's A Fighter'
Bitter rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off once again on Sunday in what many expected to be a down and dirty mudslinging bout for the ages.
In some ways, those predictions came true. But the final question of the night sought to cap off the town hall style duel on a pleasant note.
"Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?" asked a man in the St. Louis audience.
Trump was tapped to answer first, but Clinton got in the first compliment.
"Look, I respect his children," the Democrat said. "His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. And I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me."
Trump, who just hours earlier held an unscheduled press conference for women who'd accused former President Bill Clinton of rape or other sexual transgressions, gave Hillary Clinton a more direct compliment.
Miss the second presidential debate? These are the moments that had everybody talking. pic.twitter.com/F03Vs5XmpG— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 10, 2016
"I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment," Trump said. "I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment, but I’m very proud of my children.
"I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter, I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for, I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait."
It was a bright moment in a debate full of low blows aimed to personally undermine each other.
But it wasn't the first time Trump has said supportive things about his opponent. The Republican nominee actually has a history of patting Hillary Clinton on the back dating to the 1990s.
Late last year, Buzzfeed uncovered a 2008 blog post in which Trump praised both Hillary and Bill Clinton.
"Hillary is smart, tough and a very nice person, so is her husband. Bill Clinton was a great president. They are fine people. Hillary was roughed up by the media, and it was a tough campaign for her, but she's a great trooper. Her history is far from being over," he wrote.
And while he now refers to Bill Clinton as the "greatest woman abuser of all time" and to Hillary as her husband's "enabler," Trump once brushed aside the accusations against the former president.
In a 1999 CNN interview he gave after Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of raping her in the 1970s, Trump told Wolf Blitzer:
"I think she's gone through terrible times... I think she's been through more than any woman should have to bear — everything public. I mean, women go through this on a private basis and can't take it, she's on the front page of every newspaper every week with what went on in Washington."
Fast forward to the moments before Sunday's debate and Trump placed Broaddrick front and center in his pre-faceoff press conference with three women who've accused Bill Clinton.
"I’m here to support Donald Trump," said Broaddrick. "I’ve tweeted recently and Mr. Trump retweeted it... Actions speak louder than words. 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."
Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey — Broaddrick's fellow Clinton accusers — also gave Trump their support.
During Ken Starr's investigation into the Monica Lewinsky case, Bill Clinton's lawyers denied the allegations Broaddrick made in a 1999 Dateline NBC interview.
Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, sued Mr. Clinton for sexual harassment in 1994. A judge dismissed the suit in 1998. After Jones appealed the ruling, Clinton settled the suit for $850,000 while admitting no wrongdoing.
Former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey claimed in 1999 that Mr. Clinton made a "very forceful" sexual advance on her years earlier. Mr. Clinton has denied under oath making any advance on Ms. Willey.
Kathy Shelton, who as a young girl was allegedly raped by a 41-year-old man whom Hillary Clinton was appointed by a judge to defend, also voiced her support for the Republican.