A staffer had to tell Bill Clinton about the infamous Trump-Rubio fight in 2016 over penis size

trump rubio
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio debated below the belt during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.

  • Former President Bill Clinton missed the debate when then-candidate Trump bragged about his manhood.
  • A staffer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign had to tell him about it.
  • It was “one of the more awkward moments in my life,” Josh Schwerin told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The moment when then-candidate Donald Trump boasted about his manhood during a 2016 Republican primary debate was particularly memorable for a staffer who had to brief former President Bill Clinton on what happened.

The former president had been in a meeting in Louisiana and missed the debate when Trump, responding to an attack from his opponent Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, assured a crowd that neither his hands nor “something else” were small.

Josh Schwerin, who served as the national spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said briefing the former president on the debate was “one of the more awkward moments in my life.”

“He didn’t at first believe me that this was the topic of a debate,” said Schwerin, who spoke to Insider as part of an oral history project on Trump’s takeover of the GOP. “I had to show him the CNN headline. I tried to not add any commentary and just let him read it for himself. Because it was not the most comfortable conversation to have with the former president of the United States.”

Read more: The definitive oral history of how Trump took over the GOP, as told to us by Cruz, Rubio, and 20 more insiders

Tired of Trump calling him “little Marco,” Rubio seized on the size of Trump’s hands that year during a rally in Roanoke, Va. “You know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them,” he said.

Trump brought up the comment days later at the debate. “Look at those hands, are they small hands?” he said, holding up his hands for the crowd. “And, he referred to my hands – ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

Rubio later said he apologized to Trump for his comments.

Bill Clinton’s extramarital sex scandals generated embarrassing headlines during his presidency and led to his impeachment. But the Rubio-Trump schoolyard antics still surprised him.

“He was amused, but also really aghast that this is what they had devolved to,” Schwerin said of Bill Clinton.

To read the full oral history story, click here.

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Facebook staffers were told by execs to scrap any mention of Russia in a 2017 white paper on the platform’s security concerns: ‘We started to feel like we were part of a cover-up’

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on Oct. 23, 2019.

  • Facebook’s 2017 white paper initially mentioned Russian election interference, a new book says.
  • Executives told staff to remove all mention of Russia from the white paper, “An Ugly Truth” says.
  • Management thought it would have been “politically unwise” to include Russia, according to the book.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Early drafts of a 2017 Facebook white paper on security concerns included mentions about Russia’s role before company executives decided it was “politically unwise” and told them to remove it, a new book says.

The first draft of the white paper from Facebook’s then-chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and his team had “an entire section devoted to activity by state-backed Russian hackers,” according to an advance copy of An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination that Insider reviewed.

The book’s authors write that the draft contained “concrete examples from the 2016 presidential elections that demonstrated how Russia had used the platform to spread hacked documents.” When Facebook executives, including then-Vice President of Communications and Public Policy Elliot Schrage viewed the draft, they told Stamos and his team to cut out this section, according to the book.

“They didn’t want to stick their heads out,” a person involved in the discussions told the book’s authors, who note that management thought it would have been “politically unwise to be the first tech company to confirm what U.S. intelligence agencies had discovered.”

Stamos went back to the drawing board on the Russia section, taking out details and cutting mention of the 2016 presidential election, according to the book.

The revised draft was seen by Schrage, then-general counsel Colin Stretch, and Vice President of Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan, and they said Stamos and his team should remove all mention of Russia, the book says.

“The goal of the white paper was to share our findings in a straightforward manner, which is why there was broad agreement with the security team’s recommendation to refer to the Intelligence Community Assessment and not name any specific nations,” Facebook told Insider in a statement.

Members of the company’s security team were “surprised and angered” by the change, the book says.

“There was a sense that Stamos could have gone and knocked down walls to get the word out on what Russia had done,” a member of Facebook’s security team told the book’s authors. “We started to feel like we were part of a cover-up at Facebook.”

Management’s reasoning fell in line with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s early mantra, “company over country,” according to the book.

“As a private global company, Facebook did not want to engage in geopolitical skirmishes, and it certainly didn’t want to be in the middle of contentious national elections,” the authors write. “Facebook was, above all, a business.”

Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg weren’t involved in the white paper’s revisions, but Sandberg had told Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff that it was Congress’ responsibility to make the findings public, the book says.

“In 2016, we and those in the government and media did not fully recognize the nature and scope of foreign interference in our elections,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “Since 2017, we have removed over 150 covert influence operations originating in more than 50 counties, and a dedicated investigative team continues to vigilantly protect democracy on our platform both here and abroad.”

Read the original article on Business Insider