Gennifer Flowers, a former model who had an extramarital sexual encounter withBill Clinton in the 1980s, has reportedly accepted an invitation to sit in the front row during Hillary Clinton’s presidential debate with Donald Trump on Monday night.
Flowers herself appeared to confirm the report on Saturday, writing on Twitter: “Hi Donald. You know I’m in your corner and will definitely be at the debate!”
Nine years earlier, however, Flowers said she would support Hillary Clinton in her first presidential campaign. Speaking in 2007, Flowers said: “I can’t help but want to support my own gender.”
She added: “I don’t have any interest whatsoever in getting back out there and bashing Hillary Clinton.”
Her reported invitation to watch Trump do so in 2016 appeared to have its roots in a feud between the Republican candidate and Mark Cuban, a politically outspoken billionaire who has questioned Trump’s boasted worth.
On Thursday, Cuban tweeted that he had “just got a front row seat to watch @HillaryClinton overwhelm @realDonaldTrump at the ‘Humbling at Hofstra’ on Monday. It Is On!”
On Saturday morning, Trump replied: “If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!”
BuzzFeed News then reported that Judy Stell, an assistant to Flowers, said in an email that though Flowers had previously declined invitations to public events because she did not want to be a sideshow, “Ms Flowers has agreed to join Donald at the debate”.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request from the Guardian for confirmation.
Clinton was reportedly spending the weekend preparing for Monday’s debate, which will be held at Hofstra University in New York. Trump was scheduled to address a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, on Saturday evening.
The New York Times reported that Clinton’s preparations include a staffer, Philippe Reines, playing Trump and pursuing expected lines of attack including Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions.
Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Trump said that out of “respect” for Clinton he would not be “looking” to pursue such attacks. “I don’t know what I’m going to do exactly,” he said. “It depends on what level she hits you with, if she’s fair, if it’s unfair, but certainly I’m not looking to do that.”
Flowers came to national prominence in January 1992, when Bill Clinton first campaigned for the White House, with an allegation of a 12-year affair and tapes of conversations between the two.
Clinton initially denied the claim, but admitted in a 1998 deposition in a sexual harassment suit that he had had a single sexual encounter with Flowers. Beginning in 1999, Flowers pursued a defamation suit against Hillary Clinton and two Clinton aides, James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. It was dismissed.