Who is Lauren Manning? Hillary Clinton's Debate Guest Survived 9/11 & Remains Her Close Friend

When presidential candidates send out their personal invites to the debate, it’s as much a matter of politics and strategy as anything else. Hillary Clinton has released her list of personal attendees, and of them, it’s really important that you know who Lauren Manning, Clinton's debate guest, is. Some of the more frequent criticisms of Clinton are attributed to her supposed lack of humanity, and the presence of Manning counters precisely that.

On September 11, 2001, Lauren Manning went to her office at the World Trade Center, like so many thousands of other people. She survived, but suffered burns on 82 percent of her body, and underwent a recovery process that lasted for years. In the early stages, many people came to support her in the hospital. One of these was the then junior senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton. As Manning attested to in her short but touching speech at the DNC:

Hillary showed up.
She walked into my hospital room and took my bandaged hand in her own. Our connection wasn’t between a senator and her constituent. Our connection was person to person.

To Manning, Clinton ended up being far more than just an elected representative. The two became, and remain, close friends, and Clinton continued to check up on Manning as the years of her recovery process dragged on. Now, Manning has been doing her best to act as an advocate for Clinton’s, reminding people of Clinton’s continued dedication to helping the victims of 9/11 and her own personal experience of Clinton’s warmth and care.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

It’s possible that having Manning at the debate is also a not-so-subtle snipe at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has no record of helping 9/11 victims, though he too was present in New York City at that time, and in fact profited from a program set up to help small businesses get back on their feet. In more recent times, he has set off firestorms with his blatant lies about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attack – lies which Politifact has deemed to be “Pants on Fire,” their most ignominious designation.

Much more than a political tool, however, Lauren Manning is a dear friend and strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s, and her story is one that we can all keep in mind when choosing who to vote for this November.