Donald Trump invokes Monica Lewinsky to defend attacks on Bill Clinton

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Trump continues to bash Clintons
ABC News Bazi Kanani with the report.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Donald Trump says he doesn't believe Bill Clinton is a racist, just hours after tweeting that the former president had been described that way.

Trump defended himself on Tuesday for sending the tweet, saying that the former president was called a racist during Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. But he insists, "I don't believe he is a racist, if you want to know the truth."

Trump continued his attacks on Bill Clinton's record on women. He reiterated that such criticism is "fair game" if Hillary Clinton plays the "woman card" in the presidential campaign.

"Well, if you look at the different situations; of course, we can name many of them. I can get you a list and I'll have it sent to your office in two seconds," Trump said via telephone on the "Today" show.

"But 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."

In mentioning Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Clinton had an affair, and Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton during his presidency, Trump was referring to ghosts of Clinton's past as the former president prepares to hit the campaign trail next week.

Trump had teased both Clintons on Twitter early Monday:

Responding Monday to Trump's initial attacks on Bill Clinton, Clinton spokesman Christina Reynolds, said, "Though Donald Trump has pushed around nearly all of his fellow Republicans, Hillary Clinton won't be bullied or distracted by attacks he throws at her and former President Clinton. But when his insults are directed at women, immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslims, the disabled, or hard working Americans looking to raise their wages - Hillary Clinton will stand up to him, as she has from the beginning."

Trump was also asked whether he had a change of heart from a 2008 CNN interview in which he called Clinton's impeachment "nonsense" and suggested his affair with Lewinsky was "totally unimportant."

"I'm dubbed as a world class businessman, which frankly that's what I am, and I got along with everybody," Trump said. "I got along with the Clintons."

Meanwhile, Trump's daughter Ivanka is coming to her father's defense about his attitude toward women.

"You could also list a few comments he's made about men that are unflattering. I think he's highly gender-neutral," Ivanka Trump told Town & Country Magazine. "If he doesn't like someone, he'll articulate that, and I think it's also part of what resonates about him."

Bill Clinton will hold his first solo public events on behalf of his wife in New Hampshire next Monday.

(The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report)