If the mounting allegations of rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct against Donald Trump are true, Kathleen Willey still plans to support his candidacy for president of the United States, she told The Daily Beast in an interview on Monday afternoon.
“I’ve never not voted, you know?” she said, when asked the question. “I think it’s one of the most important things you can do. Yes, I will vote for him, because I will never vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Asked to clarify that she was saying she would vote for Trump even if depictions of him as a sexual predator were accurate, she said, “That’s a very hard question. I would not vote for Hillary Clinton, let me put it that way. I would not vote for Hillary Clinton.” She also would not, she said, vote for Gary Johnson. “I want Donald Trump to win,” she said.
In 1997, Willey accused President Bill Clinton of inviting her to his hotel room during the 1992 campaign (a request she claims she declined) and then, in 1993, sexually assaulting her during an Oval Office meeting in the White House, where she was a volunteer. Incidentally, the day of the alleged assault, her husband, who was under financial distress, committed suicide. Clinton denied the accusations under oath, during a 1998 grand jury testimony, saying, “I didn’t do any of that… she was not telling the truth.”
With Clinton and Willey the only witnesses to the alleged crime, it came down to a he said-she said, and Clinton was never charged. Interestingly, the White House responded to Willey in the same way the Trump campaign responded to one of his recent accusers, Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant: by producing a friendly letter Willey wrote to Clinton after the alleged assault took place as proof that it must not have occurred as she said it did.
Whatever happened that day in 1993, Willey has become an important tool for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee as a seemingly endless stream of (mostly blond) women has emerged to accuse him of acting on that now famous proclamation that his star power allows him to “grab” women “by the pussy” without repercussions.
Along with Juanita Broaddrick, who claims then-Attorney General Clinton raped her in Arkansas, and Paula Jones, who says then-Governor Clinton sexually harassed her in his office, Willey has appeared at a press conference with Trump, a presidential debate as his guest, and on Fox News, for a sit-down special with the exceedingly sympathetic Sean Hannity.
Willey said she has no plans to attend the final presidential debate in Las Vegas, but since she received only 12 hours notice that she’d be attending the last one in St. Louis, she isn’t ruling out the possibility entirely.
It was during that interview that Willey stated—incorrectly—that she had not been contacted by any mainstream media outlets for interviews, when The Daily Beast and The Washington Post, among others, had reached out to her.
Willey apologized for that during our phone call Monday, which she began by somewhat angrily accusing The Daily Beast of being responsible for a Daily Caller headline, “Does Kathleen Willey Deserve Four Pinocchios?"
“I learned the hard way. They turn everything that I said, they turn it around and made it—and worked it all against me, and made me look like a fool,” she said.
Hannity, she told The Daily Beast, is a safe space. “I trust him, you know?” she said. “There’s not a lot of people I trust in media anymore.”
That distrust is mutual.
Of all of Clinton’s accusers, Willey has the distinction of making the most outlandish claims. That ol’ Bubba is a sexual predator has never felt like all that much of a stretch, but a conversation with Willey, I learned Monday, features casual references to “henchmen” and “secret police” who she believes “do all of her dirty work”—her being Hillary Clinton. Willey has said all sorts of hard-to-believe things, like accusing those henchmen of killing her cat, trying to kidnap her dogs, threatening her children—even a son she told me she had to put up for adoption when she was a young woman—and stabbing three of her car tires with a nail gun.
She also appears to be an unreliable narrator. During our conversation, while on the topic of not giving interviews, she told me she hadn’t been interviewed by Roger Stone, Trump’s former aide, for his book The Clintons’ War on Women, in which she’s featured prominently. “He didn’t interview me for that book, which actually shocked me,” she said. “I just said [to Stone], ‘Didn’t you ever think to interview me?’ And you know what his answer was? ‘Well, I couldn’t find you.’”
Later, when I went back to my copy of the book while writing this story, I realized she actually wrote the book’s foreword. A subsequent call placed to Willey for an explanation was not answered. Stone did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
Willey said she believes all alleged victims of sexual assault “deserve to be heard,” but she questioned why so many women were coming out at once to accuse Trump so close to the election. Asked if she thought maybe they felt a civic duty, or felt like they were more likely to be believed now because there were so many other accusers, she said, “If that’s the case, where are all the women that I’ve pleaded with to come out and tell their stories about Bill Clinton?”
She went on, “Look, look, if what these things being said are true—and we will probably never know the truth—here’s my one question: Has he ever raped anybody?” Informed that Trump was accused of rape by his ex-wife Ivana, who later recanted, Willey said, “Has anybody accused him of rape besides his wife?”
Informed again that, yes, there is another accusation of questionable merit, made in court anonymously as Jane Doe, claiming Trump raped her when she was 13, Willey said, “If that’s true, let’s hear her story. Let’s hear her describe the rape like Juanita described it.”
She added, “It’s been really hard. You have no idea how hard it is to be called the names—bimbos and whores and skanks and sluts—you name it, and they all come from Hillary Clinton, and don’t tell me that they don’t, because I know that they do.”
Whether Clinton is saying those things behind closed doors, nobody can know. But we do know that, in the 10 days since Trump was caught on tape boasting about his ability to sexually assault women, he has attempted to tear down his accusers by claiming that they are not attractive enough for him to sexually assault or they are lying because they want fame or money.
Since Friday, Oct. 7, Trump has been accused: by Zervos of abusing his power by making unwanted sexual advances; by Kristin Anderson, who said Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina at a nightclub in the 1990s; by Rachel Crooks, who claimed Trump kissed her on the mouth without her consent at Trump Tower in 2005; by Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt while sitting next to her on an airplane in the early 1980s; by Jill Harth, who said Trump sexually harassed and assaulted her in 1992; by Cathy Heller, who said in 1997, Trump grabbed her and kissed her on the mouth at a Mother’s Day brunch at Mar-a-Lago; by Temple Taggart McDowell, who claimed Trump kissed her on the lips without permission in 1997, while she was competing in the Miss USA pageant; by Mindy McGillivray, who said Trump grabbed her butt at Mar-a-Lago in 2003; by Cassandra Searles, who said Trump grabbed her butt and invited her to his hotel room in 2013 while she participated in the Miss USA pageant; and by Natasha Stoynoff, who said Trump grabbed her and kissed her without consent in 2005 at Mar-a-Lago, where she was reporting a story for People magazine.
“What day is it?” Willey said, half-joking. “It’s been a crazy week. It’s been a really crazy week.”
It sure has.