Cecile Richards stays on message
On the day of Planned Parenthood’s official endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the women’s health organization’s president Cecile Richards declined to comment in interview with TIME on the recent attacks by Donald Trump on Bill Clinton’s sexual history.
Instead, Richards said her organization’s endorsement was intended to focus on Hillary Clinton’s record on women’s issues.
“It’s really not the focus of this event today. It’s a political campaign, I’m sure there’s going to be all kinds of mud everywhere,” Richards told TIME. “But to me, reason we’re endorsing her today—the reason why hundreds of people across this country got together—is because Hillary Clinton is a longstanding champion of women’s health and women’s rights and not just planned parenthood: equal pay, access to birth control, access to safe and legal abortion.”
“That’s what’s going on and that’s what’s important,” Richards said.
Bill Clinton’s infidelity has come to the fore in recent days as Donald Trump and other Republicans have claimed that his history damages Hillary Clinton’s claim to be a candidate for women.
Richards’ comments to TIME came hours after Trump, who is leading the Republican presidential primary, told NBC’s Meet the Press, that Clinton is “married to an abuser. A woman claimed rape, and all sorts of things. I mean, horrible things.”
Bill Clinton has admitted to multiple extramarital affairs, but he has denied all accusations of sexual abuse. One woman, Juanita Broderick, has accused Bill Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s, and two women accused him of sexual assault during the 1990s.
Planned Parenthood’s endorsement comes as the organization has faced concerted efforts by Republicans in Congress to defund it. The organization provides cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and performs abortions. The abortions are not government-funded.
Hillary Clinton has lambasted Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and made it a central talking point in her campaign. “I have stood with you throughout my life and throughout my career,” Clinton told an audience of mostly women. “And I promise you this: as your president, I will always have your back.”
Introducing Clinton, Richards warned of the consequences if Clinton is not chosen in a general election. “We know if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz have their way we’ll back in the stone age,” Richards said in her speech. “Hillary Clinton’s pledge, our pledge, my pledge will be that Planned Parenthood’s doors stay open.”