Surrogates for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, were out in force shortly before the two faced off in their first debate at Hofstra University on Monday.
Hillary supporters Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, spoke with the media as did Trump supporters Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), boxing promoter Don King, and others from both camps.
“On key issues like supporting the police, rebuilding the military, also economic leadership, also just showing the strength of purpose, I think Donald Trump has it,” Congressman King told the Press. “Listen, I can give you many issues I disagree with Donald Trump on, but I agree with him on the key issues.”
The high-profile supporters gave interviews in the media filing center outside the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex where the candidates are debating in a televised event expected to draw ratings rivaling the Superbowl.
On the other side of the aisle was Cuban, whom Clinton invited to sit in the front row given his ability to get under Trump’s skin, prompting Trump to announce before the debate that he would invite Bill Clinton’s ex-mistress, Gennifer Flowers.
“There’s so little thought behind what he says,” Cuban said. “He’s like that friend you have that’s easy to pick on that just says crazy things…He just doesn’t know what he believes [and] what he doesn’t believe.”
As the billionaire sports owner spoke, boxing promoter King appeared nearby to tell reporters that Trump would take apart the current system and built a new one to create more opportunities.
“He’s not a politician,” Don King said. “He’s a businessman.”
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, gave several televised interviews but did not stop to speak to other reporters in the filing center before he left the area.
-With Rashed Mian