Seeking to change the subject from video of himself boasting about getting away with sexual assault because of his fame, Donald Trump appeared just before the debate with three women who say they were victims of unwanted sexual advances or rape by Bill Clinton, and a fourth who accused Hillary Clinton of putting her “through hell” as the court-appointed defense attorney of a man she said raped her when she was 12, in 1975.

Trump’s campaign tricked the media into covering the surprise meeting by inviting reporters to film his final “debate prep,” and then ushering them into a room where the candidate and the four women were seated at a table. The candidate’s campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, could be seen smirking at the back of the room as the reporters tried to make sense of the scene.

Each of the four women then gave short statements in praise of Trump.

The first to speak was Paula Jones, who filed a sexual harassment against Bill Clinton that led to him lying under oath while president, when he denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky during a 1998 deposition. He was later impeached by the House of Representatives over the Lewinsky affair but acquitted by the Senate.

Trump, a former supporter of both Clintons, called Paul Jones “a loser” in a 1998 television interview.

The following year, Trump told CNN that Hillary Clinton “been through more than any woman should have to bear, everything public.”

The second woman to speak was Kathy Shelton, who remains outraged that Hillary Clinton, as a court-appointed lawyer in 1975, questioned her claim, as a 12-year-old, to have been raped by a 41-year-old man. In 2008, when a reporter informed her that the female attorney in the case was running for president, Shelton initially said she understood that Clinton had been appointed to defend the man she accused of raping her. “I’m sure Hillary was just doing her job,” she said. Later, however, when presented with an affidavit written by Clinton that questioned her account, and accused her or previously making false charges of being attacked, Shelton said she was shocked, and insisted that was not true.

The third woman was Juanita Broaddrick, a former nursing home administrator who claimed after Clinton’s impeachment trial that she had been raped by him 21 years earlier.

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09:  (L-R) Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathy Shelton sit before the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

From left, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathy Shelton sit before the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The final woman to speak was Kathleen Willey, a former White House aide who has said Bill Clinton had groped her in his office in 1993. Willey told reporters she cried the day that Trump announced his candidacy, when he promised to make American great again.

The Trump campaign then ejected the press from the room and seated the four women in the audience for the debate.