Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Politics

Gennifer Flowers said she would attend debate for Trump, but Trump camp says no

Gennifer Flowers, who revealed a sexual relationship with Bill Clinton in the 1990s, is saying she will attend Monday night's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as Trump's guest.

Flowers's assistant confirmed the decision to BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski Saturday afternoon, and Flowers herself told the New York Times in a text message, "Yes, I will be there."

But after the Trump campaign declined to comment on Flowers all day Saturday, it said Sunday morning that she would not be not actually be at the debate.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN that the Trump campaign has not formally invited Gennifer Flowers to be at debate and doesn't expect her to be there.

It was the latest play in a bizarre bit of gamesmanship between the Clinton and Trump campaigns over the debate. Clinton's camp confirmed this week that they would invite billionaire Mark Cuban, a Trump antagonist, to the debate.

"Just got a front row seat to watch @HillaryClinton overwhelm @realDonaldTrump at the 'Humbling at Hofstra' on Monday. It Is On!" Cuban tweeted.

The two billionaires have feuded regularly in recent years. At a July campaign stop for Clinton, Cuban called Trump "bats--- crazy."

On Saturday, he taunted Trump on Twitter:

And Trump tweeted that he might invite Flowers - first in a tweet that misspelled her name as "Jennifer," which was deleted within minutes, quickly followed by a repeat. Both tweets also mentioned Cuban's "Apprentice"-like TV show, which was canceled in 2004: "If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!"

Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri responded to the news late Saturday: "Hillary Clinton plans on using the debate to discuss the issues that make a difference in people's lives. It's not surprising that Donald Trump has chosen a different path."

It also remains to be seen whether the Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the debates, would allow either Cuban or Flowers to sit in the front row. Commission co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf told CNN on Saturday, before the news about Flowers, that attempts to distract the candidates with guests will be discouraged.

"We are going to frown upon - I will tell you this right now - whether or not a Republican or Democrat or anyone else attempts by use of tickets in placing people in a front row or not to try to impact the debate. It is wrong," Fahrenkopf said. "We would frown upon Mr. Cuban being in the front row if his purpose is to somehow disrupt the debate; likewise, if Mr. Trump was going to put someone in the front row to try and impact things."

Flowers said during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign that the two of them had engaged in an affair over a dozen years. The allegation, which Clinton denied at the time, threatened to ruin his campaign.

In 1998, Bill Clinton acknowledged under oath having a sexual encounter with Flowers, though he disputed details of her account.

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