A 2016 debate-prep video has surfaced showing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton jokingly practicing how to avoid hugs from then-Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Philippe Reines, a Clinton operative who helped her prepare for her debates with Trump during the 2016 election, posted a video Friday on social media showing Clinton practicing ways to gracefully avoid a pre-debate Trump hug.
In the video, Reines, pretending to be Trump, greets Clinton on stage for a friendly embrace. Clinton reacts by grabbing Reines’ hand and then running away. Reines chases Clinton, jokingly hugging her as she tries to escape.
Reines released the video, which he called a “favorite moment from debate prep,” on Twitter alongside text that read, “Not easy to avoid the unwanted Trump hug, sometimes it even takes practice.”
Not easy to avoid the unwanted Trump hug, sometimes it even takes practice...
A favorite moment from debate prep (9/24/16): pic.twitter.com/JAAHaqKFoa
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) May 19, 2017
Although the woman in the video appears to be Clinton, the quality of the video isn’t good enough to be sure. One Twitter commenter asked Reines if the video shows Clinton herself or a stand-in, to which he responded, “That’s her, in the flesh.”
Reines said the video was taken Sept. 24, just two days before the first presidential debate, which was held Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York.
At the beginning of the the second presidential debate, held Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Clinton and Trump neither hugged nor shook hands.
Reines’ video was released one day after Brookings Institution fellow Bejamin Wittes, a friend of former FBI Director James Comey, told a reporter Comey was “disgusted” by Trump’s attempt to hug him at a White House event in January.
"Right at the end, Trump singles [Comey] out in a fashion that he regarded as sort of calculated," Wittes said. "Trump grabs the hand and kind of pulls him into the hug, but the hug is entirely one-sided. Comey was just completely disgusted by the episode."
"[Comey] thought it was an intentional attempt to compromise him in public," Wittes also said.