Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway asserted Sunday that the Republican presidential candidate only threatened to bring a former mistress of Bill Clinton's to Monday night's debate to show that he's a "great counterpuncher."
"I can't believe how easily baited the Clinton campaign was," Conway said on CNN. "Mr. Trump was putting them on notice that we could certainly invite guests that may get into the head of Hillary Clinton."
Conway said that, despite the candidate's tweets, the Trump campaign never actually invited Gennifer Flowers — a woman who had an affair with Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas — to the debate, and contended that the Hillary Clinton campaign's response showed a "lack of nimbleness."
The controversy was sparked when celebrity-businessman Mark Cuban, who has repeatedly criticized Trump, announced that he would be attending the first presidential debate via an invitation from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Trump reacted to the news on Twitter, writing that he might put Flowers "right alongside" the Dallas Mavericks owner.
Flowers then tweeted that she was in Trump's corner and would "definitely be at the debate."
But GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence later said on "Fox News Sunday" that Flowers would not be at the debate.
On ABC's "This Week," Conway compared Trump's statement about potentially bringing Flowers to the debate with the invitation to Mark Cuban and claimed that the Clinton's team "started this one."
"The question really is why does Mark Cuban have to put out tweets saying, ‘It’s the humbling at Hofstra, I’m going to be there for the take down of Donald Trump,'" Conway said. "[Trump] wants to remind people that he’s a great counterpuncher ... This debate should not be about what billionaire can Hillary Clinton put in the front row."
Conway then rejected the premise that the Flowers threat raised concerns about Trump's temperament, arguing instead that the reaction to the controversy was indicative of "poor judgment" by the Clinton campaign.
"I do think also it shows the poor judgment and lack of nimbleness of the Clinton campaign that they actually put a statement out last night about Gennifer Flowers being invited, that it shows how easily provoked Donald Trump is," Conway said. "No. You just put out a statement and reminded people who had no idea, taught people who had no idea, who Gennifer Flowers is."