Republican nominee Donald Trump has invited Pat Smith, the mother of a victim of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, to the third presidential debate.
On Oct. 17, Smith told Yahoo News the Trump campaign had invited her to attend the upcoming presidential debate in Las Vegas.
“I think I’m going to be in the front row,” Smith said. “But I’m not sure.”
The mother had a prominent speaking slot during the Republican National Convention in July. Smith has publicly blamed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the death of her son, a State Department IT consultant who was killed by terrorists at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Smith said on the RNC stage. “Personally.”
Smith has accused Clinton of personally lying to her about the nature of the Benghazi attack. While U.S. officials initially believed the attack was a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic video, it was actually a coordinated terrorist attack. The bereaved mother has called for Clinton to be imprisoned.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a Trump campaign adviser, confirmed that Smith was invited to attend the third presidential debate.
“Hillary said ‘What difference does it make’ -- the difference was four lives were lost in Benghazi, and all the families have still never had a solid answer from Hillary Clinton as to why we allowed this to happen,” Flynn said. “Hopefully Wednesday these families will get their answer.”
To clarify, Clinton’s quote was made during her testimony before the House Oversight Committee in 2013. Under questioning by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Clinton said the motivation of the Benghazi attack had little bearing on the result, according to PolitiFact.
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton said. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided that they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”
Smith said she hopes “to look in Hillary’s eyes, and have her lie to me again.”
The Trump campaign has repeatedly invited people from Clinton’s past to the presidential debates, presumably to psychologically intimidate the Democratic nominee.
For the first presidential debate, Trump had publicly invited Gennifer Flowers, President Bill Clinton’s former mistress, to sit in the first row. The Trump campaign eventually canceled the invitation, Vanity Fair reports.
For the second presidential debate, days after 2005 audiotape of Trump bragging about groping and kissing women without consent surfaced, the business mogul invited three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault.
On the night of the second presidential debate, former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City attempted to escort the three accusers to the Trump family VIP box, where they would be prominently featured before Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post reports.
“We had it all set,” Giuliani said. “We wanted to have them shake hands with Bill, to see if Bill would shake hands with them.”
The maneuver was swiftly nixed by former RNC Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf, who was the debate commission’s co-chairman. Fahrenkopf threatened to have the accusers escorted out by security if they were placed in the VIP box.
The third and last presidential debate will be held on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas.