Despite all the hoopla about it yesterday, Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said this morning that the campaign has not “formally” invited Gennifer Flowers to attend.
After the Hillary Clinton campaign said Mark Cuban will be attending the debate tomorrow, Trump tweeted that he could counter by inviting the woman who had an affair years ago with Bill Clinton.
This is the critical political game of one-upsmanship, an increasingly intensifying stare down between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as they head into their first debate. Clinton supporter Mark Cuban revealed that he had been invited to sit in the front row of the debate so he could mess with Trump’s head.
Trump responded by threatening to put former Bill Clinton fling Gennifer Flowers in the front row in response. Flowers publicly accepted the invite. But one little problem for Trump: he just blinked first, while Hillary never missed a beat.
What Trump didn’t know
Trump appeared to be unaware that Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings typically went up when Bill was caught in infidelity, and that dragging Flowers back into the mix could only help Hillary and hurt himself. But when Flowers announced that she was accepting Trump’s invitation, she (wittingly or unwittingly) called his bluff.
Forced the truth
Now that the media and the public have begun trying to figure out whether the inexplicably unfitting sight of Gennifer Flowers in the first row of Monday night’s debate was actually going to happen, it forced the Trump campaign to go ahead and admit that no such thing was going to happen. “We have not invited her formally, and we do not expect her to be there as a guest of the Trump campaign,” says Trump’s (third) campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Clinton brief statement
Rather than voicing a specific objection to Flowers being in attendance or trying to put a stop to it, the Clinton campaign simply released a brief statement pointing out that Trump’s threat was evidence of his unsuitability for office and his inability to take the election seriously. So while Trump took the bait by responding to Cuban’s tweet with something completely inappropriate which likely hurt him with moderate and undecided voters, Hillary decidedly did not take the bait in terms of objecting to the Flowers invitation.
Trump blinked first
It’s why in the end, Donald Trump blinked first and had his campaign admit that Gennifer Flowers was never going to be at the debate. In an escalating stare down of one-upsmanship, he who blinks first loses. And Trump lost this stare down, not only by making a threat which likely hurt him just by voicing it, but also by making a threat he ultimately wasn’t prepared to carry out. In addition to speaking to his immaturity, it doesn’t say much for his negotiating ability as President. And so the debate pre-game goes to Hillary Clinton.