Setting the tone for the night. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton failed to shake hands at the start of the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 9, bunking tradition and kicking off the evening with two cold shoulders.
The presidential candidates took to the stage in St. Louis for their second face-off, with Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz at the helm.
After the two candidates were introduced, Clinton, 68, and Trump, 70, walked onstage from opposite sides of the floor and retained grim expressions and stiff body language as they greeted one another, pointedly choosing not to shake hands prior to their explosive 90-minute debate.
The political opponents’ icy demeanor comes just two days after the GOP presidential candidate was caught on newly released 2005 footage bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush.
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” Trump can be heard saying on the controversial audio clip. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p–sy. You can do anything.”
Trump’s lewd remarks have had serious repercussions in the subsequent 48 hours, including a string of high-status Republican officials denouncing the real estate mogul and the RNC withdrawing their financial support from the candidate.
In response to the fall-out, Trump issued a video statement via Twitter on Saturday, October 8. “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” he says on the video. “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
In recent weeks, Trump has come under fire for his numerous misogynistic comments about women in the past, including his most recent Twitter attack on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he once called “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
Despite the GOP leadership’s distancing itself from Trump, however, the former Apprentice host vowed not to drop out of the race.
“The media and establishment want me out of the race so badly — I WILL NEVER DROP OUT OF THE RACE, WILL NEVER LET MY SUPPORTERS DOWN! #MAGA,” he tweeted prior to the debate.
When Cooper, 49, directly asked Trump: “You bragged that you sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” the Republican presidential candidate once again insisted that his words were just “locker room talk” and tried to deflect attention to ISIS, who are “really bad.”
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