A lifetime ago, in October 2016, Donald Trump made headlines for the way he moved to stand directly behind Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate. He hovered behind Clinton while she took her turn answering questions, standing uncomfortably close to her in a way that many women recognized — not to mention that the “grab her by the pussy” tape had leaked just a two days before. At the time, we published a post called “Is Trump A Trigger? According To Many Women’s Reactions To The 2nd Presidential Debate, The Answer Is Yes.”
Clinton addresses the experience for the first time in her upcoming book about the election, What Happened, out on September 12th. Audio excerpts read by Clinton were shared on today’s Morning Joe, writes the Washington Post. The passage reads:
This is not okay, I thought. It was the second presidential debate and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces.
It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’
I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.
Watch the clip below:
Top photo: ABC
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