On Wednesday morning, MSNBC's “Morning Joe” netted a bit of an exclusive: not just the first excerpts from “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton's upcoming book about her 2016 campaign, but clips from the audio book version narrated by Clinton herself.
In the excerpt, Clinton recalls her thoughts as then-candidate Donald Trump followed her during their “town hall” debate.
“'This is not OK,' I thought,” begins the excerpt in question.
“It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women,“ Clinton continued. ”Now, we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable."
In addition to feeling that her personal space was invaded, Clinton added that Trump was close enough that she could actually feel his breath. “He was literally breathing down my neck,” she added. “My skin crawled.”
Clinton had to make a decision as to what to do. Should she ignore it, as she ended up doing, or should she call out Trump in front of the world?
In the excerpt, she describes her internal monologue during the debate:
"It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?' Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly ‘Back up you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.'
I chose option A. I kept cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have over-learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world."
“What Happened” will be released in all formats on Sept. 12.