Before the candidates came onstage for the much-anticipated second presidential debate, their families walked out and shook hands with one another. But many viewers noticed that Chelsea Clinton did not walk out with her father, President Bill Clinton, even though most of the Trump children came out behind Melania Trump. Those wondering why Chelsea Clinton didn't shake hands with Trump's family at the second debate may not receive an especially scandalous answer. The former first daughter certainly had a lot on her mind.
The announcement preceding the families walking out only mentioned Melania Trump and Bill Clinton, so it's possible that the children were not in fact supposed to walk out with the candidates' spouses. Chelsea Clinton was shown walking with her mother from the vehicle in which Hillary Clinton arrived, and then shown again in the audience to support her mother.
Perhaps Chelsea Clinton intentionally chose not to walk out with her father even though the Trump children were walking out, or perhaps communication just got screwed up in the night's craziness. (And the latter seems more likely. After all, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump are friends.) But the lack of a handshake between Chelsea Clinton and the Trumps seemed like nothing in comparison with another handshake that never got to be, the handshake between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the start of the debate.
Although Clinton and Trump shook hands at the beginning of the first debate, the tone in the room was decidedly chillier on Sunday night, after Trump spent the previous hours holding a press conference with the women who have accused President Bill Clinton of sexual abuse in the past. Clinton did not extend her hand to her opponent, instead greeting him with a verbal hello, and the boxing gloves went on for what was a bruising, unprecedented debate.
At the end of it all, the two candidates did wrap up on a somewhat civil note, when an audience member asked if they could each name something they respected about the other. Clinton said she respected Trump's children, while Trump said he respected that she was a "fighter." After that, the two shook hands as the debate wound down, although that civil act couldn't do much to erase the clear hatred with which they treated one another throughout the rest of the night.
So, while the story of the debate may become a story about a handshake, in all likelihood, it won't be the one Chelsea Clinton failed to give the Trumps.