“Hey did you see — wait, wait, wait! Did you see where she said I entered her space? So here I am, I’m standing. Right, you saw that? This is a liar. So I’m standing at my podium. I’ve got my chair and Crooked Hillary walks across the stage right in front of me,” Trump said, in one of his most animated moments of the night.
“So I'm standing, and she walks across the stage. She’s standing right in front to me. I didn’t care. I don't care. And she’s answering a question and then she walks right back. Okay, that’s fine I didn’t make a big deal. Next day, I said I read the paper.”
Several news outlets wrote about Trump’s body language during the event and commented on his at-times awkward use of the stage. The debate was framed as a town-hall-style forum, and the setup gave the two candidates the opportunity to walk around the stage and approach voters who asked them questions.
At one point, early in the debate, Trump appeared to follow Clinton as she was answering a town hall attendee’s question and then stood very closely behind her when she stopped pacing. The moment was mocked heavily on social media at the time and many accused him of being a “lurker.”
Trump said that he was intentional not to invade Clinton’s space because, during Clinton’s first Senate run in New York, her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, was panned for leaving his podium and aggressively approaching her.
“I was very careful because, years ago, somebody did come in and talk to her. And the poor guy, Lazio, he got just killed. So I said, ‘I’m not getting near this woman,” he said. “No I’m not getting near this woman at all. No interest. No interest. I have no interest.’”
Trump also complained about the comments during an interview that aired Tuesday evening with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
"I was standing at my lectern, and all of a sudden from nowhere, she walks right in front of me. I never walked near her. She stands right in front of me. The next day, it was I was in her space. I was standing at my chair, my lectern,” he told O’Reilly.
Clinton did often walk over to the side of the stage where Trump’s chair sat to speak to voters on that side who had asked questions.