Republican front-runner Donald Trump attacked longtime Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Friday, crudely joking about how Abedin's husband, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, was caught in a sexting scandal, and suggesting Abedin "can't see straight" for marrying the now disgraced Democrat.
In rambling remarks in Norwood, Mass., on Friday evening, Trump referred to Clinton's political problems stemming from her use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. Clinton "has a lot of problems," including that much information went through Abedin, Trump said.
"How 'bout Huma?" Trump asked the crowd. "Okay, here's the story. So Huma, now, is one of the people that it all sorta came through Huma. Who is Huma married to? One of the great sleazebags of our time."
He mispronounced her name as "Ooma."
Clinton's presidential campaign hit back via Twitter on Friday night. Press secretary Brian Fallon said Trump had hit a new low of "boorishness."
New level of boorishness by Trump tonight shd provoke a "Have you no decency, sir?" moment from rest of GOP. But I'm not holding my breath
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 29, 2015
Traveling press spokesman Nick Merrill, who worked with Abedin at the State Department, called Trump's behavior "disgraceful."
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) August 29, 2015
To uproarious laughter, Trump pantomimed an illicit texting session. "You know, the little bing, bing, bing, bum, bum,'" he said, jabbing at an imaginary phone. "I love you very much," Trump then called, in mock imitation of Weiner hiding his online activities from his wife.
Abedin began working for Clinton nearly 20 years ago and is by many accounts the candidate's closest confidante and most trusted employee. She is a constant presence at Clinton's side, and handles details of the candidate's life and schedule from the mundane to the momentous. She had a security clearance when she worked for Clinton at the State Department, as is routine for political appointees. For a time, she also had unusual dispensation to do outside consulting work in an arrangement that has come under new scrutiny since Clinton's entry into the 2016 presidential race.
"So Huma is getting classified secrets. She's married to Anthony Weiner, who's a perv," Trump said. Abedin no doubt shared information with Weiner, "who she's probably desperately in love with, in all fairness to Anthony, 'cuz why else would she marry this guy," Trump asserted. "Can you believe it? Can't see straight."
Trump said Abedin is surely still sharing information with Weiner now that he has joined a New York public relations firm. Abedin, like Clinton, no longer has access to State Department classified material. Both left the government in early 2013.
"I've known Anthony Weiner a long time. I knew before they caught him with the bing, bing, bing," Trump said. "And he was a bad guy then. It turned out he was a really bad guy."
"It's a sad situation. I don't know if Hillary Clinton gets to the starting gate," Trump said.