The Slatest

The Saddest Part of This Debate Happened Before the Debate Even Started

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s second presidential debate on Sunday was basically a discomfiting freak show, with Trump threatening to throw Clinton in jail should he become president for something the Justice Department has ruled wasn’t a crime, making no sense on policy foreign or domestic, admitting he hadn’t paid federal income taxes and blaming Clinton for it, attacking his own running mate, and denying he sent out a tweet about a sex tape that he very much did send. But the most uncomfortable moment of the whole spectacle—and perhaps saddest for the entire country—happened before the event even started.

Prior to the debate, Trump held an impromptu press event with a woman whose rapist Hillary Clinton defended when she was a public defense attorney and three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct—ranging from harassment to assault—over the years.

Trump then invited those women to sit in the front row of the audience in the same room as the man they say assaulted or harassed them in order to watch that man’s wife—who is seeking to become the first female president in the history of the United States—debate a man who bragged on tape about sexual assault. That everyone involved was subjected to this—from the accusers, to the accused, to the wife of the accused, to the entire populace of the country—by the aforementioned grope bragger, Trump, is one of the most singularly awkward moments of this entire awkward affair we have called a presidential election. In a race full of nonstop ugliness, it was also one of the saddest.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.