Hillary Clinton spent the better part of a fiery Florida rally on Tuesday discussing sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, saying the Republican nominee often does not view women as equal human beings.
“When I think about what we now know about Donald Trump and what he’s been doing for the past 30 years, he sure has spent a lot of time demeaning, degrading, insulting, and assaulting women,” Clinton said.
The Dade City, Fla., speech came as the polls of the presidential race have tightened and as Clinton has struggled with a negative news cycle rocked by the FBI’s revealing that it was probing additional emails connected to her server. FBI Director James Comey said last Friday that his agency had discovered new emails related to its investigation of the private email server Clinton exclusively used as secretary of state.
On Tuesday, the Democratic nominee went further than in any past speech in describing Trump’s comments in the recently unearthed 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump said he grabbed some women by the genitals.
“We heard what he does to women,” Clinton said. “I’m not going to repeat it, but you know Donald Trump was bragging about grabbing women, mistreating women. I have to tell you since that tape came out, 12 women have come forward to say, what he said on that tape was what he did to me.”
Clinton was introduced by former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who has accused Trump of calling her Miss Piggy after she gained weight. Trump, who once owned the Miss Universe beauty pageant, launched a Twitter barrage against Machado after Clinton brought up his treatment of her during the first debate.
Machado appeared to fight back tears as she described Trump’s treatment of her in English and Spanish in her introduction of Clinton. “It’s clear…that he does not respect women. He just judges us on our looks,” she said, adding that she was “afraid” of him when he criticized her for gaining weight.
“The bottom line is he thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man,” Clinton said. “He doesn’t see us as full human beings with our own dreams. our own purposes, our own capabilities — and he has shown that clearly throughout this campaign.”
She urged her supporters to vote to show Trump he is wrong. “He has shown us who he is. Let us show him this Tuesday who we are,” she said.
The race is likely to get uglier in its final week. A Clinton senior adviser told reporters the candidate is aiming to “sharpen the choice” by drawing contrasts with Trump in the final days of the campaign.