The final debate that airs Wednesday night will have one noticeable break in protocol as the event gets underway — no handshakes. According to a new report, Hillary Clinton’s campaign requested that the nominees’ spouses and their families not shake hands.
At the second presidential debate, there wasn’t a handshake between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the start of the debate. Their spouses and children had no issue shaking hands, but the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees refused to shake hands until after the debate.
Two anonymous sources close to preparations surrounding the debate tell the New York Times that the Clinton’s campaign’s request to have no handshakes in the final debate was approved. In the second debate, Bill Clinton shook Melania Trump’s hand, but this won’t be the case in the final presidential debate. This will be true for the families of both presidential candidates, as well.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 19, 2016
What spurred the request? It’s an all-out effort to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation Donald Trump may create, insiders say. Had he been granted his way in the second debate on October 9, the three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault would’ve had to shake his hand because they would’ve been seated with Trump’s family. Prior to the debate, Trump assembled the women to join his family, but the Commission on Presidential Debates thwarted the attempt. If they hadn’t intervened, the women — Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey — would’ve had to shake Bill Clinton’s hand. It was viewed as a calculated effort to humiliate Bill Clinton on national television.
In prior presidential debates, the nominees’ families have crossed the room with a courteous handshake before taking their seats. The final debate in Las Vegas will be set up entirely different with regard to how the nominees and their families enter the debate hall. The Clinton campaign is taking no chances for a dramatic encounter before the debate even begins. The Clinton campaign wouldn’t put it past Donald Trump to pull a last-minute stunt at the final debate.
The Times’ sources reveal that the nominees’ spouses and families will enter the hall closer to their seats instead of crossing one another’s paths.
A Clinton aide declined to comment on the request for no handshakes at the final debate, and aides for Trump haven’t commented on the new arrangements.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday and reminded viewers that what they witnessed in the second debate was both nominees choosing to not recognize those normal courtesies. When Podesta was pointedly asked if the Clinton campaign made the request, he didn’t answer, only saying, “We’ll see what happens tonight.”
According to the report, it’s possible the negotiations may change by the time the debate airs if both sides agree.
The presidential debate had plenty of moments, but the most awkward may have been at the very beginning. Watch: https://t.co/HaOC9vomqu
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) October 10, 2016
No handshakes at the final debate aside, both candidates are prepared to face-off one last time before the election on November 8. There will be six main topics that will consist of 15-minute discussions. Those probing topics include debt and entitlements, immigration, economy, Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, and fitness to be president. Each candidate will have two minutes to answer the questions with the remainder of time up for discussion.
The third presidential debate will air on all of the major networks at 9 p.m., ET / 6 p.m., PT: ABC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, and Univision Live streaming will also be available online. ABC will partner with Facebook Live Stream.
Will Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump partake in a handshake when they enter into the final debate?
[Featured Images by Dew Angerer/Getty Images]