Hillary Clinton practiced avoiding unwanted Trump hug before debate

Louis Holland
May 20, 2017

In light of Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes's recollection that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey-after trying to blend into the curtains-had been "disgusted" by Trump's attempt to hug him at a White House event in January, former Clinton staffer Philippe Reines released a video of Hillary Clinton practicing dodging his advances during debate prep. Pope Francis, take note.

Former FBI Director James Comey wasn't the only one eager to avoid an embrace from President Donald Trump. But he wanted to approximate his physicality so that Clinton would grow accustomed to Trump's looming presence when she saw Reines in her peripheral vision.

The video shows Clinton and the man playing the role of Trump approaching one another on a debate stage.

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In the video, Clinton is seen playfully eluding the outstretched arms of "Trump", played by Reines, much to the delight of staffers who are heard laughing.

Reines insists it is Clinton in the somewhat blurry video.

'Not easy to avoid the unwanted Trump hug, sometimes it even takes practice, ' Reines wrote in the tweet's caption. She tries to give him a high-five instead and he jokingly chases after and hugs her anyway as the Clinton staff laughs behind the camera.

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Philippe Reines, a political consultant who has been a senior adviser to Clinton since she headed the State Department under President Barack Obama, acted as stand-in for Trump during the candidate's debate preps.

And the comparisons to Comey's non-hug with Trump in the Oval Office ring true, too. Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth. "He's become more famous than me!"

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