NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell said on Thursday that Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who accused Bill Clinton of raping her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1978, is “discredited.”
Appearing on “The Today Show,” Mitchell aired a segment about Donald Trump’s comments during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday night in which he brought up rape allegations against the former president.
“In one case, it’s about exposure,” Hannity said in the interview. “In another case, it’s about groping and fondling and touching against a woman’s will.”
“And rape,” Trump interjected.
Broaddrick came out publicly in 1999 with claims that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, when he was attorney general of Arkansas. Broaddrick remained silent until this January, when she tweeted about the incident.
And though Mitchell and NBC News have sought out interviews with Broaddrick in recent months, the reporter on Thursday called Broaddrick’s story into question.
“Donald Trump using that word unprompted, during an interview last night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity,” Mitchell said. “Bringing up a discredited and long-denied accusation against former president Bill Clinton, dating back to 1978 when he was Arkansas Attorney General.”
Mitchell did not clarify her claim that Broaddrick has been “discredited.” In the 1990s, amid the case of Paula Jones, the woman who accused Clinton of sexual harassment, rumors about Broaddrick’s story circulated.
But she refused to go public with her story at the time and filed an affidavit stating that Clinton never made any “sexual advances” towards her. She later recanted that affidavit after being approached by the FBI. She gave an interview to NBC’s “Dateline” in Feb. 1999.
Mitchell’s statement that Broaddrick is now “discredited” is at odds with her own response after the former nursing executive resurfaced earlier this year. The reporter contacted the 73-year-old Broaddrick for an interview. An NBC News producer also flew to Van Buren, Ark. to seek out an on-camera interview to discuss her rape claims. (RELATED: NBC News Scrapped Story About Bill Clinton’s Rape Accuser Because She Didn’t Have ‘Anything New’ To Say)
Broaddrick shared emails with The Daily Caller that she exchanged with the producer ahead of the proposed interview. They showed that the producer said she was sympathetic to Broaddrick’s story and was eager to introduce it to a new generation of voters who were likely not familiar with claims made against Bill Clinton in the past.
The network ultimately decided not to air a story on Broaddrick’s accusations, however, saying that there was “nothing new” to her claims.
“When Juanita Broaddrick went public last week, NBC News sent an associate producer to Arkansas to see if there was anything new in her story. We established there was not, and decided not to pursue it any further,” the network said in a statement in January.
On Wednesday, the Clinton campaign responded to Trump’s “rape” comment, accusing him of playing dirty.
“Trump is doing what he does best, attacking when he feels wounded and dragging the American people through the mud for his own gain. If that’s the kind of campaign he wants to run, that’s his choice,” said spokesman Nick Merrill.
Mitchell also called the allegations against Bill Clinton “long-denied.”
“NBC News has reached out to the Trump campaign this morning to ask why he brought up that long-denied Bill Clinton allegation. So far, no response,” she said during Thursday’s broadcast.
Broaddrick made news on Wednesday when she called on The New York Times to conduct an investigation on Bill Clinton’s sexual assault accusers similar to one that the paper published earlier this week about Donald Trump’s treatment of women. (RELATED: Bill Clinton’s Rape Accuser Calls Out New York Times For Failing To Cover Allegations Against Ex-POTUS)
Broaddrick told The Daily Caller that The Times has not reached out to her for an interview since the late-1990s.
Mitchell did not respond to an email request for comment.