Donald Trump turned in perhaps the most effective performance in the history of presidential debates on Sunday night.
As the day began, he had been denounced by his wife, Mike Pence, and his own staff for a tape of crude and lewd remarks in a decade-old “locker room” conversation on a bus with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood.”
Tasting blood, the media were in a feeding frenzy. Trump is dropping out! Pence is bolting the ticket! Republican elites are about to disown and abandon the Republican nominee!
Sometime this weekend, Trump made a decision: If he is going down to defeat, he will go out as Trump, not some sniveling penitent begging forgiveness from hypocrites who fear and loathe him.
His first move was to host a press availability, before the debate, where a small sampling of Bill Clinton’s alleged victims — Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick — made brief statements endorsing Trump and denouncing the misogyny of the Clintons.
“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me,” said Broaddrick, “and Hillary Clinton threatened me.”
The press had to cover it. Then the women marched into the auditorium at Washington University to watch Hillary Clinton defend her behavior toward them after their encounters with Bill.
As the moderators and Hillary Clinton scrambled to refocus on Trump’s comments of a decade ago, Trump brought it back to Bill’s criminal misconduct against women, his lying about it, and Hillary’s aiding and abetting of the First Predator.