America’s direction. Achieving prosperity. Securing America.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
In one corner, you had our former first lady and former secretary of state, who, despite her 30-plus years of experience, has watched her political reputation be torn apart by the Benghazi scandal and “super predator” criticism.
In the other corner, we have reality TV star and business mogul Trump, who has ridden an irate magic carpet of bigotry right onto the stage of the nation’s most powerful platform.
While some of us prepped for tonight by concocting drinking games for every time either of the candidates did something ridiculous (including taking shots for “build the wall” comments) the rest of us watched the 21st century twilight zone of politics play out wondering, “Is this real life?”
Yes, this is real life. And Clinton has a narrow lead over Trump in the battleground states, which meant every moment counted.
Hosted by NBC’s Lester Holt, the debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and here are the highlights:
Central to achieving prosperity is securing jobs for hardworking people. Clinton positioned herself as a woman who is the product of relatable blue-collar, middle-class Americans versus a child of inheritance. She also continued to push for renewable energy and more eco-friendly jobs.
Trump played his businessman card, defending his enthusiasm for the housing crisis by saying “that’s business” and touted the “billions” he created from his father’s upfront million-dollar investment. He explained it’s this type of business acumen that our country needs.
He also spoke out against outsourcing jobs to other countries, and criticized Clinton for her career that hasn’t rendered solutions to the job issues Americans are facing.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal became a place of contention with Trump saying she supported the bill, and Hillary debunking his claims saying that his ‘reality’ of the situation is not accurate. She urged audiences to check her website which had been transformed into a live fact checker.
Hillary insisted that Trump’s economic policies would rebirth ‘trickle down’ financial plans that crumpled our economy in 2008/2009. Trump stood by his plan, saying that the wealthy would create more jobs, and bring more money back home from dealings abroad.
Trump thwarted the controversial questions about his tax returns, pointing instead to the ‘30,000 emails’ unreleased from Hillary’s time as Secretary of State, particularly during the Benghazi attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Hillary used the moment to apologize for her mistake, and circled back around to Trump’s reported unpaid taxes, suggesting possible reasons Trump won’t release his financial records, including possible dirty dealings domestically and abroad.
Hillary began the discussion on race by explaining that race still ‘determines too much’ in this country. She called for restored trust and better training of our law enforcement. She also reinforced that implicit bias isn’t limited to our judicial system, it’s something that all Americans grapple with.
Trump approached the racial divide issue by calling for more “law & order” in communities of color and touting his endorsement from the Fraternal Order Of Police. He stood by the ‘success’ of the unconstitutional ‘Stop & Frisk’ tactics, used in New York City and characterized by persistent profiling to stop potential criminals.
Lester brought up Trump’s “Birther” campaign—an investigation Trump launched to discredit the nationality of Barack Obama by demanding that he release his birth certificate. Trump seemed pleased with the outcome of his witch hunt, also citing Hillary Clinton’s political tactics against Obama during her campaign against him in 2012.
The last topic focused on our national and cyber security. Hillary brought up Trump’s questionable relationship with Vladimir Putin and cited speeches where the Republican nominee called for hackers to infiltrate our private and public Internet data to dig up information about Hillary’s campaign.
Trump defended his national security credibility by bringing up his endorsements from public servants in our military. He criticized the Obama administration for exiting Iraq without leaving American presence behind—a critique Hillary countered by explaining the only way our troops could remain on the ground in Iraq was if the Iraq government approved an order to protect our men in uniform. That legislation was never passed.
Hillary called for continued relations with our foreign allies in order to thwart acts of terrorism, recalling the supportive impact NATO had on our War On Terror after the September 11 attacks. She also argued that a coalition of foreign forces helped to put nuclear sanctions on Iran.
Trump continued to use Hillary’s experience against her, arguing she’s been using the same tactic for years, and ISIS is still strong and striving, and terror is still a threat to the American people despite her years in office.
The debate ended with Hillary mentioning Trump’s attacks on women, claims that Trump vehemently denied.
That wraps up the first of three debates. You tell us, who won?
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter