The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has made a change to the debate night protocol just hours ahead of the final of three presidential debates held before the general election, and the rule change significantly undercuts one of alleged unregistered sex offender and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s key debate night strategies.
The change amounts to a difference in the protocol of how the family members and VIP guests of the respective campaigns enter the debate hall.
Previously, family members of the candidates and their VIP guests entered across the room from where their seats actually were located. Thus, they were forced to cross paths, leading to the ceremonial pre-debate handshake between, for example, former president Bill Clinton and Melania Trump.
Donald Trump, however, attempted to exploit the paths-crossing at the second debate by having women who have accused Bill Clinton of rape as his campaign’s VIP guests. Thus, if Trump had his way, Clinton would have been forced to personally confront the women who have spent decades accusing him of crimes.
With Trump flagrantly announcing his plans before the start of the second debate, the CPD had the opportunity to intervene in order to prevent such a “potentially humiliating and excruciating encounter,” as the New York Times put it.
Now, hours before the final debate, the CPD has acted at the urging of the Hillary Clinton campaign to prevent such a situation from occurring.
As the New York Times writes:
‘[T]he Clinton side is not taking any chances at the final presidential debate, on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, and has apparently gained approval of a different protocol for the entry of the candidates’ spouses and families into the debate hall. The new arrangement calls for the candidates’ spouses to enter the hall closer to their seats, rather than crossing the room, and each other’s paths. That would avoid any potential for confrontations, given Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic stunts.’
Trump, for his part, has already made known that he will be carrying out the stunt come the final debate of having as VIP guest to the last debate the mother of one of the victims of the 2012 terror attack which killed 4 Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
This woman, Pat Smith, famously said while addressing the Republican National Convention that she “blames Hillary Clinton personally” for the death of her son, Sean.
Trump also plans to bring as VIP guest Malik Obama, President Obama’s half-brother who supports the Republican’s presidential campaign.
Trump’s debate night stunt of bringing the women who accused former president Bill Clinton of rape corresponded to his attempt at defending his own behavior by saying “Well, Bill!”
Trump bringing the woman who has pointed responsibility at Clinton for 4 American deaths overseas similarly corresponds to his “scorched earth strategy” to try and salvage some sort of hope for his presidential campaign as he faces the increasing possibility of a crushing loss come Election Day.
He likely, however, isn’t going to get very far, with the millions of Americans whose support he needs to win the presidency not likely to suddenly think that bragging about sexual assault is okay, something which Trump was recently revealed to have done back in 2005.
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