Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, was escorted by police away from the site of the first debate between Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Party nominee Donald Trump. The debate, held on September 26 at Hofstra University in New York, was the first time the two major party nominees have debated each other.
On Monday afternoon, Jill Stein was escorted from the site of the Hofstra presidential debate while outside conducting interviews with national media. In between interviews, Stein and her campaign staff were approached by Hofstra security and local police, who escorted them from the debate site. Snopes reports that Stein was credentialed by a number of media outlets, including FOX, MSNBC, and ABC. The press secretary for Jill Stein discussed the incident.
“We were escorted onto campus by Fox under guest credentials, had just finished with Fox and an impromptu interview with CBS, and were walking the short distance between the Fox stage and the MSNBC stage for a 1:40pm interview when we were approached by Hofstra security and Nassau County police. I called the MSNBC producer, who walked over to our location with credentials in hand. We were eventually cleared for the MSNBC interview, which occurred late due to the police intervention, after which we were immediately escorted off of campus and told we could not speak to anyone on the way out. We were escorted to a location where our driver could not pick us up, so we were put into a police van and driven to a nearby hotel. We were stopped by police an additional two times on the way to the hotel. As a result of this intervention, Jill did not make her scheduled afternoon interviews with WABC radio and ABC Digital.”
The Nassau County Police Department told CNN that Stein did not, in fact, have proper credentials.
“She was on the college campus, we asked to verify for proper credentials, she did not have them, and she was nicely escorted off the campus,” a police department spokesperson said.
This was not the first time Jill Stein has had trouble with law enforcement during a presidential debate. As ABC News reported then, Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested in 2012 for protesting outside the Hofstra University presidential debate. Then, as in the situation at Hofstra Monday, Stein and the Green Party maintained that the failure to include third-party candidates in the presidential debate system is fundamentally unfair and undemocratic.
Stein campaign manager Ben Manski spoke about that arrest at the time.
“The arrest was outrageous and shouldn’t be tolerated in a country that is a leading proponent of democracy. They knew that there was the possibility that they would be arrested. Their intention was to enter the premises and bear witness to the mockery of democracy that is tonight’s debate.”
Although Jill Stein wasn’t arrested in the Monday protest at Hofstra, a number of others were. Democracy Now! reports that at least 24 people were arrested by Nassau County police out of a crowd of several hundred protesters who were demanding that Stein, the Green Party, and other third parties be allowed into the presidential debates.
Stein had the opportunity to address the crowd amid chants of “Let her in! Let her in!”
“Tonight is a turning point. We can no longer going forward into the future and allow ourselves to be silenced, to be intimidated and to have our political power ripped from us. So we say it’s time to reject the lesser evil and to fight for the greater good. And we will go forward knowing that we do have the power to create an America and a world that works for all of us. And the power to create that world is not just in our hopes. It’s not just in our dreams. Right here and now, outside the barred gates of Hofstra University, that power is in our hands.”
Stein later appeared on Democracy Now! to participate in a mock debate, responding to each question asked by moderator Lester Holt in her own words as if she herself was on the debate stage. Stein also used her Twitter account to respond to the presidential debate in real time.
The Commission on Presidential Debates decided that Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson had not reached their qualifications to participate in the debates. However, both candidates have vowed to continue their campaigns and have attempted to reach voters through social media and the alternative press.
[Featured Image by Tae-Gyun Kim/AP Images]