Like many Americans, Hillary Clinton initially treated Donald
Trump’s run for president as a joke.
But the former Democratic candidate remembers the exact moment
she began to take Trump seriously.
“It wasn’t until I saw him dominate a debate with a crowded field
of talented Republican candidates — not with brilliant ideas or
powerful arguments but with ugly attacks that drew gasps — that I
realized he might be for real,” Clinton wrote in her newly
released campaign memoir “What Happened.”
It was at the
first Republican debate, in August 2015 in Cleveland, that
Trump sought to back up the provocative, racially-charged
rhetoric on which he launched his candidacy, and where he
introduced himself to a national audience that
largely viewed his campaign as a sideshow.
On stage with nine other leading GOP candidates, Trump blasted
political correctness, famously squabbled with moderator Megyn
Kelly, and refused to rule out an independent campaign should he
not win the Republican nomination. Many of his comments drew a
mixture of raucous applause and loud jeers from the
Two months earlier, Trump announced his bid for the presidency at
Trump Tower in New York in a speech that cast Mexican immigrants
as rapists and drug dealers.
“He reminded me of one of those old men ranting on about how the
country was going to hell in a handbasket unless people started
listening to him,” Clinton recalled in her book.
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