Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met Monday night for a pivotal moment in their campaigns—a presidential debate which provided each candidate with broad exposure to voters in a nation currently divided at very close percentages. With the biggest audience a presidential debate has ever held, Hofstra University in New York hosted one of the most important debates to air in election history. Viewers were interested to see how the two nominees interacted without any other candidates interrupting their spotlight; Many wondered if Trump would prove short-tempered and unprepared enough to let Hillary speak sensibly the voters.
As Hillary stepped on stage, she was prepared to throw bait to Trump multiple times, which he gladly took. Completely and utterly incapable of remaining calm in a time of serious pressure, The Donald continued to contradict himself for the entirety of the evening.
When the moment arrived that moderator Lester Holt questioned Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, he immediately used the classic “routine audit” and deflected the question back towards Clinton’s e-mail scandal. Clinton used this as an opportunity to poke and prod at Trump’s credibility, saying, “Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is. Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be. Maybe he doesn’t want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes.”
Not only did this deflect the attention away from the overused e-mail accusations, but it also set Trump up to make some classic, routine contradictions. At one point, he basically admitted his refusal to pay federal taxes, claiming it “makes [him] smart.”
Trump was alone on stage, with no other GOP candidates present to throw in digs towards Clinton—instead, he baked in the spotlight like a fish out of water.
Hillary mentioned the recession, something that hits home to all citizens voting this November. Between December 2007 and June 2009, the US workforce lost 8.4 million jobs, and 4 million houses were forcelosed on. Clinton keenly insinuated that Donald Trump was actually rooting for the economy to collapse. In reference to the housing bubble mentioned in a late 2006 interview, Trump says, “I hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy.”
His response to this accusation? “That’s business.”
Tell me, Donnie, do you have any idea what it is like to watch your mother pull quarter jars out from under her bed to pay for groceries? How it feels to have your house taken from you, forced to sell your belongings, so you can rent a place to live short term?
No, you only know what it is like to build a corrupt empire from a “small loan” of over $9 million, and struggle to decide which local company you want to bankrupt.
Some of my favorite parts of the debate occurred as Trump lied through his teeth to the American people. The smaller ones centered around the subject of global warming and Trump’s countless claims of it being a “hoax” and a way “for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
When asked about these verbatim quotes and tweets, what else would the businessman say besides, “I do not say that. I do not say that.”
Thank you to NPR for the live fact-checking throughout the debate and thank you to Hillary Clinton for arriving well-prepared and remaining composed and factual throughout her speaking time. Maybe I should even thank my friend Donald Trump, for proving he could not, in fact, remain temperamental and knowledgeable on any of the current social, economic, and environmental issues.
With election day a little over a month away, I urge everyone to read into the plans and statements made by the two presidential candidates. Although neither one may be completely satisfying to vote for, it is quite obvious who the smartest option is.