Donald Trump's Team Starts Debate Day on Defense While He Goes on Offense

Second debate comes after vulgar recordings of Trump were released.

ByABC News
October 9, 2016, 1:08 PM

ST. LOUIS, Missouri— -- Donald Trump began the day of the second presidential debate by going on offense on Twitter, particularly against Republican officeholders who have this weekend withdrawn support of him.

So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers - and elections - go down!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016

Trump’s team meanwhile played defense.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus had been slated to appear on different Sunday morning talk shows, but both bailed and left Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani to do all of the defending.

Giuliani spoke to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” saying he’s sure Trump will apologize at tonight’s town hall debate for vulgar remarks recorded on video in 2005 and released on Friday.

Watch the second presidential debate, co-moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, on ABC News and ABCNews.com at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The former New York City mayor also suggested that Trump may play some offense when he takes the debate stage in St. Louis, saying the question of whether Trump will attack Bill Clinton over his history of infidelity “depends how the debate goes.

In a subsequent interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani suggested that Trump’s focus in any criticism having to do with Bill Clinton's infidelity would be “not Bill Clinton’s role but her role as the attacker.”

It was well before the release of the 2005 video that Trump began hinting he would use Bill Clinton's past to attack the Democratic nominee. Immediately after Trump left the debate stage at the first presidential debate, he told reporters he had pulled some punches by not bringing up issues surrounding Bill Clinton’s infidelity due to the presence in the audience of Clinton's daughter, Chelsea.

This morning, Trump tweeted out a new interview that Breitbart News had posted with Juanita Broaddrick, an Arkansas resident who claims Bill Clinton assaulted her when he was the state's attorney general.

If Trump does launch personal attacks tonight it will be in front of a different type of audience than at the first debate. In tonight's town-hall style debate, the candidates will face questions from several dozen undecided voters as well as the two moderators, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Apart from whatever ammunition Trump might use against his Democratic rival in the debate is the question of what he might say about the growing number of Republicans who have said they will not vote for him.On Twitter, Trump didn’t hold back, denouncing GOP critics as “traitors” and saying the job of the party leadership is to elect the presidential nominee.

"@maidaa17: @realDonaldTrump GOP traitors! Not supporting U is voting for her, destroying America.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016

"@eericmyers: @realDonaldTrump "Republican leadership" should have only one job: Help elect the nominee we voted for, Donald J. Trump."

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the second presidential debate, co-moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9. Coverage and analysis of the debate will begin on ABCNews.com/Live at 7 p.m. ET.

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Trump’s team meanwhile played defense.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus had been slated to appear on different Sunday morning talk shows, but both bailed and left Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani to do all of the defending.

Giuliani spoke to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” saying he’s sure Trump will apologize at tonight’s town hall debate for vulgar remarks recorded on video in 2005 and released on Friday.

Watch the second presidential debate, co-moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, on ABC News and ABCNews.com at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The former New York City mayor also suggested that Trump may play some offense when he takes the debate stage in St. Louis, saying the question of whether Trump will attack Bill Clinton over his history of infidelity “depends how the debate goes.

In a subsequent interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani suggested that Trump’s focus in any criticism having to do with Bill Clinton's infidelity would be “not Bill Clinton’s role but her role as the attacker.”

It was well before the release of the 2005 video that Trump began hinting he would use Bill Clinton's past to attack the Democratic nominee. Immediately after Trump left the debate stage at the first presidential debate, he told reporters he had pulled some punches by not bringing up issues surrounding Bill Clinton’s infidelity due to the presence in the audience of Clinton's daughter, Chelsea.

This morning, Trump tweeted out a new interview that Breitbart News had posted with Juanita Broaddrick, an Arkansas resident who claims Bill Clinton assaulted her when he was the state's attorney general.

If Trump does launch personal attacks tonight it will be in front of a different type of audience than at the first debate. In tonight's town-hall style debate, the candidates will face questions from several dozen undecided voters as well as the two moderators, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Apart from whatever ammunition Trump might use against his Democratic rival in the debate is the question of what he might say about the growing number of Republicans who have said they will not vote for him.On Twitter, Trump didn’t hold back, denouncing GOP critics as “traitors” and saying the job of the party leadership is to elect the presidential nominee.

"@maidaa17: @realDonaldTrump GOP traitors! Not supporting U is voting for her, destroying America.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016

"@eericmyers: @realDonaldTrump "Republican leadership" should have only one job: Help elect the nominee we voted for, Donald J. Trump."

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2016

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the second presidential debate, co-moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9. Coverage and analysis of the debate will begin on ABCNews.com/Live at 7 p.m. ET.

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