At Previous Debates, Melania Trump and Bill Clinton Shook Hands. Not Anymore.
This intensely antagonistic election has shattered another quaint campaign ritual: the handshakes between opposing candidates’ family members before a debate.
It provides the audience in the room, and the people watching at home, with a moment of graciousness and a touch of celebrity.
But for the final debate, Hillary Clinton’s campaign wants a different setup, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity to speak candidly about debate negotiations.
That’s because at the previous debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis, the Trump campaign had an elaborate plan to parade three women who accused Mr. Clinton of sexual assault and rape into the family seating area and force Mr. Clinton to shake their hands as he crossed the room.
Had the Trump campaign succeeded, Mr. Clinton would have come face-to-face with the women on national television, a potentially humiliating and excruciating encounter. However, the Commission on Presidential Debates intervened, and the women — Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey — never came close to Mr. Clinton.
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