In consulting with his campaign manager during a commercial break Thursday evening at the Fox News GOP debate in Detroit, Donald Trump’s campaign breached pre-set debate rules.
According to CNNMoney, Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, walked onto stage during a commercial interruption and began conferring with the GOP front-runner in violation of rules to which all candidates’ campaigns had previously agreed.
Asked by Fox News representatives to exit the stage, Lewandowski refused; Fox News officials immediately informed the Cruz, Kasich and Rubio campaigns they would be allowed to consult with staffers.
Speculation persists as to precisely what occurred during the conversation between Trump and Lewandowski; however, Trump emerged from the consultation with Lewandowski with a fax allegedly authenticating Trump’s claim his Trump University has earned an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau.
The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for a comment on the matter.
The violation of debate rules nothing new.
Campaigns frequently attempt to circumvent or loosely interpret established rules and regulations during political cycles; some attempts are bold, some clumsy and others are just plain shifty.
In 2014, during the contentious Florida gubernatorial race, incumbent Rick Scott objected to challenger Charlie Crist’s placement of a fan beneath his debate podium. Scott cited rules, no electronic devices on stage, and one debate was briefly delayed.
Scott relented and eventually joined the debate.
In what should surprise exactly no one, Hillary Clinton violated rules during the 2008 presidential debates with her hairdresser. Clinton argued commercial breaks during debates should grant her, a woman, the right to have a make-up assistant access to the stage to enhance her appearance.
During one debate, in blatant violation of terms agreed with the network and campaign rivals, Clinton’s beauty artificer strolled onto stage and feigned applying her craft to Clinton’s appearance. It was discovered later the coiffeur discretely placed a cell phone on the podium which revealed a series of texts from staffers offering guidance to Clinton.
Trump’s man was bold; Crist’s staffer was taking advantage of vague rules; and Clinton was, well, just being Hillary Clinton.
[CNNMoney] [CNN] [Photo courtesy NPR]