Who did Hillary Clinton invite to the first debate? Her guests made a statement

Much has been made of whom Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are inviting to the first debate of the general election, after a scandalous weekend. But the fuss isn’t over nothing: the candidates’ guests certainly speak to what matters to them. That being said, if you’re wondering whom Clinton invited to attend the first debate, you won’t be surprised by her picks. Clinton’s guests stay true to her decades-old, carefully constructed narrative of being a champion for women and children. And, of course, there’s Mark Cuban, whose presence at the debate predictably sparked a full-on battle between the Trump and Clinton camps over the weekend.

Following a series of hard-hitting Donald Trump disses by the Dallas Mavericks owner, Clinton invited Cuban to the first general election debate in what was a pointed jab at the Republican nominee. Trump returned the blow by staying true to his long-running penchant for misogyny and unnecessarily pulling Bill Clinton into his wife’s presidential campaign by inviting the male Clinton’s ex-lover, Gennifer Flowers, to attend, predictably associating Clinton (an independent female politician) and her character and qualifications for president with her husband’s behaviors.

Clinton could have easily returned the blow with a jab at Trump’s famed infidelity, but instead, a short-list of her guests released by the campaign Monday includes 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning, among others.

Hillary Clinton Meets With Law Enforcement Leaders In New York City
CREDIT: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Also on the list are Maxine Outerbridge, a single mother domestic violence survivor; Anastasia Somoza, a woman with cerebral palsy who has featured in an anti-Trump ad hitting the Republican nominee for mocking a disabled journalist last year; and Aleatha Williams, who became a “pen pal” of Clinton’s while Clinton was first lady and when Williams was 8-years-old.

Manning, who was injured in the 9/11 attacks, previously worked with Clinton toward benefits for survivors and first responders after the terrorist attacks, and spoke at this year’s Democratic National Convention. Outerbridge’s attendance, as The Hill suggests, will highlight Clinton’s years of work with the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

As of Monday evening, Flowers will reportedly not be in attendance, but Trump hit back at Clinton by inviting Mark Geist, one of the survivors of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and a vocal Trump supporter, ABC News reports.

This year, both candidates cleverly selected invitees to serve as passive aggressive subtweets meant to hit their opponents, but as per what you’d expect from a grown, adult presidential candidate, Clinton also has apparently chosen guests who speak to the issues that matter to her campaign and the record as an advocate she’s trying to portray.