The First Presidential Debate, Summarized


As political tensions continue to build, what are each candidate’s stances on the issues that matter most?

Monday night was the first of three presidential debates, which was held at Hofstra University in New York. The next two presidential debates are on October 9 and 19, and the vice presidential debate is on October 4. For anyone who does not have the time or the patience to watch the whole debate, here is a rundown of what happened.

Stances on the Economy

When Hillary Clinton was asked about how she would improve the current job situation in America, she replied that she would raise the minimum wage and enforce equal pay for women. She accused Donald Trump of wanting to give tax cuts to the top percent, and said that the Recession was, in part, due to tax cuts which were given to the wealthy; she also mentioned that, in 2006, Trump looked forward to the collapse of the housing market so he could make money off of it. Clinton asserted that her plan to make the economy more fair would work and create 10 million more jobs, but said that Trump’s economic plan would cause America to fall $5 trillion deeper into debt. She also stated that she wants to build up the middle class by raising taxes on the wealthy instead of cutting their taxes in hopes of them creating jobs for the lower classes, which she called “Trumped-up trickle down” economics.

Donald Trump’s answer to the question was to stop outsourcing American jobs. He said that he wanted to keep jobs in the United States by cutting business taxes from 35% to 15%. Additionally, he stated that jobs could be brought back to the U.S. by renegotiating trade deals; he said that Mexico taxes imports, and added that America should do the same. Then he attacked Clinton, saying that she should have figured this out before now since she has been a politician for 30 years. He also accused Clinton of regulating businesses “out of existence,” saying that she makes it more difficult for businesses to prosper.

Facts and Attacks

The debate moderator, NBC’s anchor Lester Holt, asked Trump about his tax returns since he has yet to disclose them to the public, which is a common practice for presidential candidates. Trump said he is currently under a routine audit, but after that is finished, he will release his tax returns. He added that he has filled out a 104-paged financial statement that anyone can view. Trump then challenged Clinton, saying that he would release his tax returns before the audit is finished – against his lawyers’ wishes – if she would release the 33,000 emails she deleted. Clinton responded by speculating why Trump has yet to release his tax returns; then she claimed that he has not been paying federal income tax. She went on to say that she had made a mistake by using a private server and that she would not do that again. Trump then said that it was not a mistake, and the fact that her staff pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked about her private server is disgraceful. He went on to talk about how much money he has made and that America needs a president who knows how to handle money since the national debt is $20 trillion and the airports look like they are from third-world countries in comparison to China’s and Qatar’s. Then he said that the reason why the U.S. does not have money is because it was squandered on many of Clinton’s ideas; she fired back by saying that it might be because he has not paid his federal income tax for many years. She went on to say that she has met with people who Trump stiffed as he built his business because, in one instance, he would not pay them for the work they did for him; Trump interjected, saying that he had not paid the person because they had not done “a good job” and he was not satisfied with the work.

Race Relations

Lester Holt asked the candidates about how they would heal the divide between the races if they became president. Clinton said that race still determines too much in the U.S., whether that be in education, neighborhoods, or treatment by the criminal justice system. She stated that trust has to be restored between police and their communities, it needs to be ensured that police are being trained to use the appropriate techniques, and that the law should be respected by everyone and everyone should be respected by the law; she added that gun violence is also an issue, and that guns should be kept out of the wrong hands.

Trump stated that America needs law and order. He mentioned that he has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police. Additionally, he said that the inner cities are very dangerous and that the violence must be stopped. Trump suggested using stop-and-frisk in Chicago since it was successful in New York City. He also said that there needs to be more police and better community relations.

Clinton attacked Trump for painting a poor picture of African-American communities; she mentioned the churches, businesses, and hard-working families who have positive impacts on their communities. She went on to say that people still need to be protected and that stop-and-frisk was not an effective solution. Clinton said that she was glad to see private prisons shutting down and that there should be more second chance programs. She called for more comprehensive background checks and less military-style guns on the streets. In addition, she said that police need to be retrained so they will be less biased when dealing with minority suspects. Both her and Trump agreed that people on no-fly and watch lists should not be allowed to obtain guns. Clinton then attacked Trump for the birther movement, saying that it was racist; she said that President Obama is a man of dignity, and that the birther lie was hurtful. She also said that he did not rent apartments to African-Americans in 1973, and was sued for it. He responded by saying that the lawsuit included not only his father’s company – which he was a part of – but others, as well, and that it was settled without admission of guilt. Additionally, he said that Clinton had been very disrespectful to President Obama during the 2008 debates and even released pictures of him in African garb. He also said that his club in Florida accepts everyone and that he is very proud of how successful it is and the credit he has gotten from it.

ISIS, Nukes, and Foreign Policy

Lester Holt asked the candidates about cyber attacks, specifically who is attacking and how the candidates plan on fighting them. Clinton said that Russia has cyber attacked the U.S., and was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. She said that there are independent hacking groups and hackers from certain countries. Also, she said that the U.S. would not just stand by and watch as other countries hack public and private sector information.

Trump said he’s been endorsed by more than 200 admirals and generals in addition to 16,500 border patrol agents. He said that no one knows if it was Russia who hacked the DNC. Additionally, he mentioned that through the hacking of the DNC, it was apparent that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. He said that ISIS is beating the U.S. in cyber warfare and that the U.S. should do better at combating them.

Clinton stated that she has a plan on how to defeat ISIS that includes cyber warfare. She went on to say that the there needs to be more air strikes on ISIS. Also, she mentioned taking out the leaders of ISIS. She said she wants to get ISIS out of Iraq within a year.

Lester Holt then brought up San Bernardino and the recent New York and New Jersey bombings, asking the candidates how they would prevent attacks from within the United States. Trump responded by refuting Clinton’s last point on defeating ISIS, recalling how ISIS was formed: he said that it was because President Obama and Clinton pulled out of Iraq too quickly – although he said that the U.S. should not have been in there in the first place –creating a vacuum that ISIS filled. He went on to say that ISIS would not even exist if some troops had been left in Iraq.

Clinton shot back by saying that Trump had supported going into Iraq, which he promptly denied. Then she said that it was President Bush who had said when American troops were to leave Iraq, not President Obama. She went back to the original question, and said that she would prevent domestic attacks by gathering more intelligence; she also praised law enforcement for being on top of the recent bombings and apprehending the suspect. Additionally, she said that the U.S. needs to work more closely with its allies, which she said Trump has been very dismissive of. She added that there are many Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East that are allies and working with the United States; she went on to say that Trump has insulted Muslims when the U.S. needs to be cooperating with Muslims who can provide intelligence to America.

Trump responded by saying that the Middle East is a mess. He said that Clinton started the Iran deal, which will probably let Iran – which had been doing poorly as a result of the sanctions on it before – become a major power.  Additionally, he said that the countries of NATO are not paying their fair share to the United States and that they do not focus on terror; he added that 4 months ago he read that NATO is going to add a terror division. He also said that the U.S. pays 73% of the cost of NATO. Also, he said that the U.S. needs to use NATO and surrounding nations to go into the Middle East and get rid of ISIS. He added that Clinton and President Obama named the date that the American troops were taken out of Iraq.

Lester Holt again mentioned that Trump supported going into Iraq before the war; Trump said that was a false statement that Clinton fed to the mainstream media. He mentioned that Fox News’ Sean Hannity could corroborate his story since they had been on opposite sides of the argument. Trump also said that he has better judgement and a better temperament than Clinton, and he talked about a time that he heard her lose her temper.

Clinton said Article 5 – which was only invoked after 9/11 with respect to Afghanistan – states that when one country is attacked, it is as if they were all attacked. She said that when she became Secretary of State, Iran was weeks away from having enough materials to make a nuclear bomb. Even with the sanctions on Iran, that she said she voted for in the Senate, she claims that it was not enough. Additionally, she said that for a year and a half, she put together a coalition to impose tough sanctions on Iran. Then she said that current Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama’s deal with Iran put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. She also accused Trump of making light the issue of nuclear weapons and warfare.

Trump retorted by saying that nuclear weapons are the biggest issue the world is currently facing, not global warming, which he said that she and President Obama claim. He then listed a few countries that America is protecting without being paid to do so; he said that the U.S. is losing a lot of money as a result, and that either the countries need to defend themselves or start paying up.

Lester Holt asked the candidates about their opinion on America’s current policy for using nuclear weapons. Trump replied by saying that he would not strike first, but that he would be prepared. He also said that the Iran deal was horrible because there were more items that could have been added to it that would have required more of Iran; he added that $1.7 billion was given to Iran, which he assumed was for the hostages. Trump said in 10 years Iran will have nuclear capabilities. He mentioned that he met with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not at all pleased with how everything turned out.

Clinton started off by saying that America will honor their mutual defense treaties. She then asked what Trump would have done instead of coming up with the Iran deal, and asserted that the deal has been very successful with giving the U.S. access to Iranian facilities. Also, she claimed that Trump does not have a plan to defeat ISIS because he will not disclose it.

Trump said that he wants to help America’s allies, but that the U.S. is unable to be the policeman of the world when it is not being paid to do so. He added that in the last 10 years Clinton could have solved all these issues, but because she has not, she never will.

Lester Holt asked Trump about his statement that Clinton does not have to look that is needed to be president; Trump said that she does not have the stamina to negotiate trade deals. Clinton responded by talking about her experience as Secretary of State and the fact that she had to spend 11 hours in front of a congressional committee. Trump replied that although Clinton has experience, it is bad experience, between the Iran deal and every other deal she has made. She replied by saying that although Trump switched what he said from looks to stamina, he has insulted women before. Trump said that Clinton has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads that bash him, whereas he has not done anything of the sort to her.

The debate was concluded with the question of whether the candidates would accept the outcome of the election as the will of the voters. Clinton said she supports America’s democracy and the result of the election. Trump said he wants to make America great again by fixing the economy and immigration, and that he will support the outcome of the election.

Here is the full debate from NBC, embedded below.



Natalia is a Contributor to the Daily Runner.

One thought on “The First Presidential Debate, Summarized

  • October 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm
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    Excellent, informative, and unbiased reporting!

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