New York, February 8
One of the women who has accused former US President Bill Clinton of sexual assault says she has agreed to work for an anti-Clinton political group being formed by a former adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer who says Bill Clinton groped her in an Oval Office hallway in 1993 when she came to him tearfully seeking a paid job, said she had agreed to become a paid national spokeswoman for a group being created by Roger Stone. Stone, a Republican strategist, said the group would become active should Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton’s wife, win the Democratic nomination in the 2016 race for the White House. Clinton is currently the front runner.
“This gives me more of an opportunity to get this message out to young voters who weren’t even born or don’t even remember what happened and to the women who have suffered,” Willey told Reuters.
Willey said she would give interviews and speeches and appear in political advertisements to ensure the accusations remain part of the political discourse during the election campaign.
“They’re going to be confronted every day, on radio, on television, on billboards,” Stone told Reuters, referring to the Clintons. He said he had reached a verbal agreement with Willey but cautioned that the group was still in the planning stages.
Spokesmen for Hillary and Bill Clinton did not respond to questions about Willey.
Stone’s political action committee, which can raise virtually unlimited funds to advocate for or against candidates, was originally created last year under the name Women Against Hillary. It was renamed in January as the Rape Accountability Project for Education PAC, or RAPE PAC.
In a 1998 deposition, Clinton “emphatically” denied Willey’s accusation he groped her, describing her as having “been through a lot” in reference to her family’s financial woes and her husband’s suicide on the day Willey says her encounter with Clinton happened. Clinton has admitted having extra-marital affairs with two other women: Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, and Gennifer Flowers, a singer and actor from his home state of Arkansas, but he and his lawyers have said accusations by other women are false.
It’s not clear whether Stone’s group will resonate with voters. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in January found that a majority of the public, including 68 per cent of Democrats and 50 per cent of Republicans, thought that Bill Clinton’s past sexual misconduct “made no difference” in the current race.
Among women, 56 per cent said it did not matter, while another 21 per cent said it would hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election.
Several Republican candidates, particularly Trump, have reminded voters of the allegations while campaigning. The Clintons and their staff have dismissed this as dirty politics.