Gennifer Flowers, the woman who allegedly had an affair with Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas and has called Hillary Clinton an “enabler” of her husband’s sexual misdeeds, will reportedly be at Monday’s debate as Donald Trump’s guest.
Trump threatened to bring Flowers to the debate in response to the Clinton campaign’s decision to invite Mark Cuban, a billionaire reality TV star who has been critical of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Cuban is reportedly slated to sit in the front row.
Flowers tweeted back at Trump that she was a supporter and would “definitely be at the debate.”
Trump’s team on Sunday walked back the GOP nominee’s comments, saying he had suggested inviting Flowers as a joke. Trump’s running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said on Fox News that Trump was “mocking effort by Hillary Clinton and her campaign to distract voters” by inviting Flowers.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanna Conway said Flowers will not attend the debate.
“We have not invited her formally, and we do not expect her to be there as a guest of the Trump campaign,” Conway told CNN.
The invitation signals Trump’s willingness to dredge up 1990s-era scandals around Bill Clinton’s sex life in order to undermine Hillary Clinton’s reputation as a supporter of women’s issues. Like the Cuban invite, it’s also an attempt to throw a rival off her game at a high-stakes moment for both campaigns.
Trump’s campaign also included a brief image of the Clintons in a 1992 60 Minutes interview about Flowers in a recent ad. Former Trump advisor Roger Stone told Newsmax Saturday that if Clinton went on offense at the debate Trump would be prepared to retaliate by bringing up her husband’s sex scandals.
For now, the Clinton campaign is saying she will focus on policy.
“Hillary Clinton plans on using the debate to discuss the issues that matter in people’s lives,” said Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri in a statement. “It’s not surprising the Donald Trump has chosen a different path.”