Donald Trump explained why he didn’t make a Monica Lewinsky dig during the debate last night — and it all had to do with Chelsea Clinton.
“When [Hillary] hit me at the end with the women, I was going to hit her with her husband’s women and I decided I shouldn’t do it because her daughter was in the room,” Trump said during an interview with Fox&Friends on Tuesday morning.
The Republican nominee added that he did not feel “comfortable” bringing up Lewinsky because of the high regard he holds for Chelsea.
“I think Chelsea is a fine young lady,” he said.
Over the weekend Trump also threatened to have Gennifer Flowers, who revealed an affair with Bill Clinton in the 1970s, sit front row during the debate. His campaign later denied that they would invited her.
But there might have been another reason that Trump decided not to play the Lewinsky/Flowers card.
“His base will love it, but the very voters he needs — white, college-educated women — will not,” Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist told the Washington Post. “It will hurt him.”
Though he didn’t discuss the affair specifically, Trump still danced around the topic during the debate.
“You want to know the truth? I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it,’” Trump said.
But that doesn’t mean he was giving his opponent — or any of his detractors — a free pass.
Trump followed up by saying that Clinton wasn’t being nice to him, then took the opportunity to make one, very random, final dig at arch-nemesis Rosie O’Donnell, saying she deserved everything he said about her.
And when it came to Clinton’s campaign ads against him?
“I will tell you this, Lester,” he said. “It’s not nice. And I don’t deserve that.”
Thea Glassman is a Multimedia Fellow at the Forward. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @theakglassman.