The tension between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was on full display from the opening moment of the debate Sunday night when they took the debate stage and -- in a departure from tradition -- didn't shake each other's hands.
Hours earlier, Trump made a surprise appearance with women who have in the past accused Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual activity. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the women will be in the audience at the debate, is being co-moderated CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, retweeted a post from last year in which Clinton said all sexual assault victims deserve to be "heard, believed and supported."
Conway tweeted: "We agree @HillaryClinton. Does that go for Juanita, Kathleen, Kathy and Paula? If so, acknowledge them from the stage tonight. #girlpower."
The stunning developments come as Trump tries to shake off the fallout of the release of a decade-old video tape that shows him making lewd and sexually aggressive remarks about women. Clinton's aides told CNN's Jeff Zeleny they did not expect this in their planning for the debate.
Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri issued a statement accusing Trump of continuing a "destructive race to the bottom."
"Hillary Clinton understands the opportunity in this town hall is to talk to voters on stage and in the audience about the issues that matter to them, and this stunt doesn't change that," she said. "If Donald Trump doesn't see that, that's his loss. As always, she's prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way."