Billionaire Mark Cuban and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani faced off in a debate that went off the rails on CNN ahead of Wednesday’s final presidential debate in Las Vegas.
Cuban, a supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Giuliani, a prominent surrogate for Republican nominee Donald Trump, had a wild argument over Clinton’s emails, Trump’s business career, and allegations of sexual misconduct against both Trump and former president Bill Clinton.
When the leaked 2005 tape of Trump making crude remarks about women, and the subsequent allegations of unwanted sexual advances made by the Manhattan billionaire on women were brought up, Giuliani said Trump handled the situation appropriately.
“He admitted it was terrible language and he said he shouldn’t have used it in that tape with Billy Bush,” Giuliani said. “And then these women come forward all of a sudden, kind of coordinated, using a script…all the same thing. Groping, groping, groping. And, he knows it’s untrue. He’s being falsely accused. He is justifiably upset about the allegations.”
He added that as long as “I’ve known him … I’ve never seen him do anything remotely close to that” and called him a “gentlemen” with women, including his daughters.
Cuban fired back, saying that while he can’t verify if all the allegations are true, he knows two women who were sexually harassed by Trump. He chastised Trump for claiming every allegation is a lie or a conspiracy against him.
“When something goes wrong for Donald, he never admits it,” Cuban said. “He never says he made mistakes in his past, it’s always a conspiracy against him. It’s always somebody is out to get him.”
“That’s not true!” Giuliani retorted
“When is that not true?” Cuban said.
“Well, he said the recording was inappropriate,” Giuliani responded.
“Because it was a tape!” a stunned Cuban exclaimed. “He has no choice! How can you disavow a tape?”
Giuliani then said Trump apologised for both the tape and to anyone offended by his August feud with two parents of a slain Muslim US soldier who fought in the Iraq War.
CNN host Erin Burnett then asked Giuliani if there was any story that could come out that would lead him to disavow Trump.
“I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals,” he said, before asking Cuban, “If someone came to you and said Hillary Clinton murdered someone, and you believed them, would it change your mind?”
“Yes,” Cuban said in response.
“OK,” Giuliani said. “Um, yeah. But that’s a hypothetical.”
He later added that, “on this standard,” Bill did much worse when he was president.
“Taking advantage of an intern is something you’d be fired for if you were the CEO of a company,” he said, referencing the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “Clinton should have been thrown out of office … It matters because you’ve got to deal with these things equally and fairly.”
Later in the debate, Giuliani said Bill had “illegitimate children.”
“The illegitimate children?” a stunned Cuban responded. “This was disproven.”
“Alright, it was disproven,” Giuliani responded. “Was it disproven?
He then added that “Monica Lewinsky would be in an insane asylum if she didn’t have that dress … lucky she had that dress.”
In an attempt to then change the subject, Giuliani said everyone should “forget both their pasts and talk about the future.”
Cuban and Giuliani had a spirited debate about the email scandal that has trailed the former secretary of state along the campaign trail, capping off with Cuban alleging that “everything you just said is incorrect about Hillary Clinton.”
“You are so wrong,” he said after Giuliani claimed that she mishandled classified information.
On Trump’s businesses, Cuban said, aside from real estate, Trump’s been a failure at “everything else” and he’s now “crushing his brands.”
“It makes no sense what he’s doing because everything he’s saying is hurting his brand,” he said.
Giuliani responded by saying he visited Trump’s hotels and golf courses, and added that “everyone’s had failures.”
“Why all the failures?” Cuban said.
“People doing bold things sometimes fail,” Giuliani later said.
“Trump steaks is bold?” Cuban interjected. “Trump playing cards is bold? Trump card games is bold?”
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