‘Back up, you creep!’: Clinton muses about tense Trump debate moment

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question at their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Oct. 9, 2016. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters)

In her new book, Hillary Clinton fantasizes about telling Donald Trump, “Back up you creep!” as he lurked behind her during a presidential debate.

The Oct. 9, 2016, debate in St. Louis occurred two days after the release of the bombshell 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump describes forcibly kissing and groping women. As Clinton moved around the stage to address the audience at the town hall-style debate, Trump loomed behind her, resulting in ominous optics.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday aired an excerpt of the audiobook of “What Happened,” Clinton’s upcoming tome. In it, Clinton describes Trump “literally breathing down my neck” during the debate.

“‘This is not OK,’ I thought,” she recalled in the excerpt. “It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable.”

She continued: “He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep! Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up!’

Ultimately, Clinton writes, “I chose Option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen Option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”

In a separate clip from the audiobook, Clinton says the book is an attempt to “pull back the curtain on an experience that was exhilarating, joyful, humbling, infuriating and just plain baffling.”

“Every day that I was a candidate for president, I knew that millions of people were counting on me, and I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down,” Clinton writes. “But I did. I couldn’t get the job done.”

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