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AWKWARDNESS AVOIDED

Debate organizers saved Bill Clinton from having to shake hands with his sexual assault accusers

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrives at the town hall debate
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

About an hour before the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, Donald Trump made clear that he would not hold back personal attacks against Hillary Clinton. Among his guests at the debate, the Republican candidate invited three women who say they were sexually assaulted by Clinton’s husband Bill. The Washington Post reports that Trump’s campaign planned to position the women in the limelight of Trump’s family box, in an attempt to humiliate both Clintons.

The three women, who declared their support for Trump in a press conference shortly before the debate, were Juanita BroaddrickPaula Jones and Kathleen Willey. The fourth woman in the group was Kathy Shelton, who was sexually assaulted by a man who Hillary Clinton defended as a young attorney.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump proxy and former New York City mayor, told The Post that everything was set to have the women shake hands with Bill Clinton, who would be sitting in his wife’s corner. The plan was reportedly curbed by Frank Fahrenkopf, the debate commission co-chairman and former head of the Republican National Committee. Fahrenkopf threatened that the women would be removed by security, if the campaign proceeded with its scheme.

According to Giuliani, Trump’s campaign chairman Stephen Bannon devised the plan along with the candidate’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. In the end, the women sat in the first row of the debate audience, but the set-up was such that they were relatively far away from the main stage.

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