Clinton practiced avoiding Trump's hugs

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By Ariel Zilber

Former FBI Director James Comey wasn't the only one eager to avoid an embrace from President Donald Trump.

An aide to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton posted a video on Twitter on Friday showing how the former secretary of state practiced ducking a potential hug from Trump before one of their debates this past fall.

Philippe Reines, a political consultant who has been a senior adviser to Clinton since she headed the State Department under President Barack Obama, acted as stand-in for Trump during the candidate's debate preps, reports Daily Mail.

In the video, Clinton is seen playfully eluding the outstretched arms of "Trump", played by Reines, much to the delight of staffers who are heard laughing.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the clip is that Clinton shows a side of herself that is contrary to the robotic stiffness with which she is usually associated.

The video begins with one staffer announcing the two candidates as the debate participants.

After Clinton and "Trump" walk on stage, Reines stretches out his arms as if expecting his "opponent" to reciprocate.

But Clinton demurs, instead making do with a firm handshake.

Then Reines tries to get his arms around his boss as she does her best to slither away.

Continued below.

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"Not easy to avoid the unwanted Trump hug, sometimes it even takes practice," Reines wrote in the tweet's caption.

The video was filmed on September 24, 2016 - eight days after the first Trump-Clinton debate and less than two weeks before the second debate, which took place on October 4.

Reines' tweet and video is a tongue-in-cheek poke at Trump and timed perfectly following reports that Comey also sought to avoid his embrace.

Comey, who was spectacularly ousted as the FBI director last week, was said to be "disgusted" when Trump tried to hug him in a public display of closeness, according to Comey's friend Benjamin Wittes in a Lawfare blog post.

Just two days after Trump entered office, he gave Comey a special shout out during a ceremony at the White House to honor law enforcement officials who provided security at his inauguration.

Comey, who wore a blue suit, tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the room, only to have to cross the room in front of a crowd to greet Trump, who went in for a hug after the FBI director extended his hand.

"Comey was disgusted. He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him," Wittes wrote.

Comey was also unsettled by Trump's attempts to establish a personal relationship with him and feared their interactions might jeopardize the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to associates who spoke to the New York Times.

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