Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump Didn't Shake Hands At The Start Of The Final Debate, Awks — VIDEO
As the 2016 election has shown us, the time for formalities is over — and in keeping with that sentiment, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have forgone the handshake that used to be so customary between opponents at the start of all presidential debates. The two immediately moved from backstage to their podiums, with no indication that they would so much as look at one another, let alone shake hands. Given the campaign that Trump has been running, especially in the last few weeks, the moment for niceties like that are long gone.
No one seemed to be expecting this handshake from the nominees, either. In the open town hall floor from the second presidential debate, both Clinton and Trump awkwardly approached one another, yet failed to shake hands. The nominees did shake hands at the end of the event, but it may have had something to do with the last question, in which an audience member asked the candidates to elaborate on one quality they liked in the other.
It was only their families who extended this gesture to each other prior to the start of the second debate, with Bill Clinton and Melania Trump shaking hands in the familiar pre-debate protocol.
But just as the candidates refused to shake one another's hands Wednesday evening, their families have now followed suit. According to The New York Times, the decision to axe the gesture was a strategic one on the part of the Clinton campaign.
Because of the Trump campaign's decision to invite three of Bill Clinton's accusers to the debate, as well as their unsuccessful attempt to place the women in the family seating area, the Clinton campaign wanted to nix the possibility of another spectacle altogether. In short, there would be no handshake, and no room for potential embarrassment.
In a CNN interview earlier on Wednesday, Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said that he hoped the candidates, at least, would rethink shaking hands for the sake of the American public. "If I had my druthers, I would say you should — in the best interest of the American people and comity — go out and shake hands,” Fahrenkopf said. “But I don't dictate that. They have the right to do what they want to do.
But as viewers saw on Wednesday, no such accommodation would be made, becoming a strange — but not at all surprising — end to this usual debate gesture.