Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Escorted from Presidential Debate Site

The third-party nominee was asked to leave the site of the first presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Published Sept. 26, 2016

Green party nominee Jill Stein was escorted away from the site of the first 2016 presidential debate, according to USA Today reporter Eliza Collins, who was at the scene:

Four years ago Stein was arrested for disorderly conduct and handcuffed to a chair at the Hofstra University debate. She tried her luck again this year and has already been escorted off campus.

In August, Stein [said] that she would be back at this year’s first debate and she was “absolutely” ready to be arrested again. Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson didn’t make the polling threshold (15%) in polls to make it on stage.

Stein and her Libertarian party counterpart, Gary Johnson, have expressed disdain over the fact they have been excluded from debating the Democratic and Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively, during the first presidential debate to be held on 26 September 2016 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. They filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in August 2016 challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates criterion that candidates need at least 15 percent support in national polls to participate.

According to Collins, even after being sent away from the debate location Stein and her team boarded a media bus. Collins' tweet describing this activity caused a stir among law enforcement who tried to track Stein down:

The tweet scrambled law enforcement officials and they attempted to track down Stein, who is not credentialed for the event.

According to Stein’s campaign she was on her way to do a series of interviews with broadcast outlets when they finally caught up with her.

“We were there under legitimate pretenses,” Meleiza Figueroa, Stein’s press director, told USA TODAY. But as the group walked from one broadcast outlet’s setup to the next they were approached by Hofstra security and Nassau county police. The officials told the Stein contingent that after the interview they “would be escorted off campus immediately, so that’s exactly what we did — we complied,” Figueroa said.

Jill Stein's press secretary told us that this account of events was not accurate, saying:

We were not sent away from the debate location before we boarded the media bus. We had already been at Hofstra the day before for a 5pm interview with CNN. We boarded the bus on our way to a scheduled interview on Cavuto Coast to Coast on Fox, which occurred at 12:30pm.

FOX, MSNBC, and ABC all had guest credentials for us in hand. We were escorted onto campus by Fox under guest credentials, had just finished with Fox and an impromptu interview with CBS, and were walking the short distance between the Fox stage and the MSNBC stage for a 1:40pm interview when we were approached by Hofstra security and Nassau County police. I called the MSNBC producer, who walked over to our location with credentials in hand. We were eventually cleared for the MSNBC interview, which occurred late due to the police intervention, after which we were immediately escorted off of campus and told we could not speak to anyone on the way out. We were escorted to a location where our driver could not pick us up, so we were put into a police van and driven to a nearby hotel. We were stopped by police an additional two times on the way to the hotel. As a result of this intervention, Jill did not make her scheduled afternoon interviews with WABC radio and ABC Digital.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.