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Trump did not ‘formally invite’ Gennifer Flowers to debate, says campaign

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway says she cant believe how easily Clinton campaign was baited over former model who had sexual liaison with Bill Clinton

Gennifer Flowers has not been formally invited by the Trump campaign to attend Mondays first presidential debate, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday, adding: I cant believe how easily the Clinton campaign was baited.

In response, Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook said the Flowers story was a warning sign about [Trumps] bullying tactics that make him unfit to be president.

Trump appeared to invite Flowers, who had a sexual liaison with Bill Clinton, on Saturday, in an exchange of tweets with the billionaire Mark Cuban, a Clinton supporter and Trump antagonist who said he had been invited to attend the Hofstra University debate.

Flowers subsequently tweeted that she was in Trumps corner and would definitely be at the debate. BuzzFeed News reported that her assistant said in an email Flowers would attend and the New York Times reported that Flowers confirmed that in a text message, saying: Yes I will be there.

Conway appeared on Sunday on CNNs State of the Union. Asked if she could confirm Flowers attendance, she said: No, I cant confirm that and I cant believe how easily the Clinton campaign was baited.

Flowers, she said, had not been formally invited. I dont expect her to be there as a guest of the Trump campaign.

It seems odd, she added, that the Clinton campaign would give the story life and breath.

Speaking to ABCs This Week, Conway repeated her contention that the Clinton campaign had started the row by inviting Cuban and elaborated on her claim about baiting, criticising the release of a statement on the subject on Saturday night.

In that statement, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said: Hillary Clinton plans on using the debate to discuss the issues that make a difference in peoples lives. Its not surprising that Donald Trump has chosen a different path.

Conway also repeated that Flowers had not been invited by the campaign, but added that she could be at the debate as a paying member of the public.

On Fox News Sunday, Trump vice-presidential pick Mike Pence was more emphatic, saying: Gennifer Flowers will not be attending the debate tomorrow night. Pence also attacked Cuban, who owns the NBAs Dallas Mavericks, saying he had been out there saying some pretty tough stuff about my running mate [He] knows about as much about national security as I do about professional basketball.

On NBCs Meet the Press, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, a Trump adviser, held the line, saying Cuban was not a legitimate person. Flynn was less decisive about Flowers, saying only: Well wait to see what happens tomorrow night.

Following Conway on CNN, Mook said the Flowers story was indicative of Trumps temperamental instability and unsuitability for the White House.

Nobody knows which Donald Trump is going to show up to this debate, he said, and in fact his erratic temperament has been discussed a lot around the debate, and I would argue that is why he is not fit and prepared to be president.

Conway said Trump had no plan to attack Clinton in the debate about her husbands infidelity, echoing remarks by the candidate himself earlier this week, and said: Mr Trump will answer the questions as asked by moderator Lester Holt.

Trumps frequent attacks on other people were counterpunches to attacks on him, she said, as he had a right to defend himself.

Mook said: I think the fact that Trump is spending the hours before the debate on this sort of thing is indicative of the kind of leader and the kind of president he would be. Its a warning sign before the debate has even started about [Trumps] bullying tactics that make him unfit to be president.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/25/donald-trump-gennifer-flowers-debate-hillary-clinton