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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

The ‘characters and conduct’ of candidates Clinton and Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds and Convention Center, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) Photo Credit: AP

Strange how things play out. Donald Trump is looking more presidential — in the sense that he finds himself in the type of trouble Bill Clinton faced in the White House 20 years ago.

No wonder Trump trotted out the ex-president’s female accusers over the weekend. By last week, he had to have known or suspected that a pageant of his own accusers would form.

The former president, who now aspires to the role of first gentleman, beat his impeachment rap back in the day. Remember, Clinton wasn’t officially brought to bear for sexual transgressions or for lying to the public. His legal problems involved perjury and obstruction.

There is much to argue about equivalency between Clinton and Trump scandals.

The facts, circumstances and personalities of Bill and Donald, former golfing buddies, differ.

But it is Trump and Hillary Clinton who face voters Nov. 8. So all this ruckus is less about sex or gender than who the candidates are — and what that means for the job they’d do.

No, it isn’t just gossip or media frenzy when we hear women publicly accuse Trump — or when we get a taste of Clinton’s backroom maneuverings via WikiLeaks.

John Adams, one of the nation’s founders, said the people have “an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”

Characters and conduct are on display more than either major-party candidate planned.

Citizens are getting the chance to know about Clinton’s actions as secretary of state, her seemingly contradictory public and private postures on trade, fracking and borders, the handling of her emails.

Trump’s resume consists of his businesses. So the bankruptcies, taxes, personal and social behavior, past interactions with people, and truthfulness or lack of it all add up to the only body of “envied knowledge” the voters have to go on.

So it was a bit shocking when Trump’s presumed friend, defender and ally Newt Gingrich gave the candidate a pretty shaky character reference on Thursday.

“Look, first of all, let me just say about Trump, who I admire and I’ve tried to help as much as I can, there’s a Big Trump and a Little Trump,” Gingrich told Fox Business News.

“The Little Trump is frankly pathetic.”

Gingrich alluded to the fact that Trump complained at a rally Wednesday that House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t call to congratulate him after Sunday’s debate:

“I mean, he’s mad over not getting a phone call?”

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