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October 15, 2016

Clinton accuses Trump of ‘stalking’ her during debate


October 15, 2016

Big donors urge Republican Party to drop Trump

WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton has accused her Republican presidential rival Donald Trump of "stalking" her during their televised debate on Sunday.

Trump often stood closely behind the Democratic nominee glowering as she answered questions from the audience during the town hall-style event in St. Louis.

Speaking during an interview on NBC´s The Ellen DeGeneres Show set to air on Friday, Clinton said his movements made her feel "really weird" on stage.

"Because of the revelation of the public video, and everything that came out on ´Access Hollywood,´ you know, he was really all wrought up, and you could just sense how much anger he had," Clinton said, referring to a video leaked last week showing Trump making lewd comments about women.

"And so he was really trying to dominate and then literally stalk me around the stage and I would just feel this presence behind me."

Trump rejected criticism about his debate performance at a rally on Monday. "So I´m standing at my podium by my chair. She walks across the room. She´s standing in front of me, right next to me," he said.

"And the next day I said what did the papers say? They said, ´he invaded her space.´"

"Believe me," he added, "The last space that I want to invade is her space."

Last week´s video showed Trump boasting in 2005 of groping women with impunity because he was famous, sending the White House race into unprecedented levels of vulgarity.

Since then, at least six women have accused him of making unwanted physical advances, most of them after Trump asserted in Sunday´s debate that he had never sexually assaulted a woman.

During her interview, Clinton praised First Lady Michelle Obama for blasting the Republican nominee in a powerful tirade on Thursday.

"The speech that she gave, I think, put into words what so many people are feeling," Clinton said. "And not just women and girls. Men and boys."

She also said she didn´t notice making a much-commented shimmy motion during Sunday´s debate when Trump accused her of not having the "right temperament" to be president.

Meanwhile, some of the Republican Party´s biggest financial donors urged its national committee late on Thursday to drop Donald Trump in the wake of accusations he sexually assaulted women, The New York Times reported.

In a further sign the Republican presidential candidate´s free-falling campaign is sowing deep divisions within a party in crisis, the paper quoted some of those who have given millions of dollars to Republicans as saying the scandal surrounding the real estate billionaire threatens the party with lasting damage unless it repudiates him.

"At some point, you have to look in the mirror and recognise that you cannot possibly justify support for Trump to your children -- especially your daughters," Missouri businessman David Humphreys told The New York Times, which said he contributed more than $2.5 million (2.3 million euros) in the last four years.

"He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president," New York investor Bruce Kovner said in an email to the daily.

"Even for loyalists, there is a line beyond which the obvious moral failings of a candidate are impossible to disregard," he wrote. "That line has been clearly breached."

The criticism extends to Republican leaders who continue to stick by Trump, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

"Reince should be fired and replaced with someone who has the competence and leadership skills to rebuild the RNC," California investor William Oberndorf told the paper.

However, the party´s major donors have little leverage over a candidate who is relying largely on his own money and many small donations from his far-right electoral base.

The party´s rift deepened on Monday, when House Speaker Paul Ryan -- the party´s top elected official -- told hundreds of fellow House Republicans that he would no longer "defend" Trump.

Ryan said he would instead spend the remainder of the campaign focusing on protecting the Republican congressional majorities ahead of the November 8 election.