Updated Tuesday, October 11th.
BU News Service
With his campaign reeling from the revelation of a 2005 tape showing him discussing women in lewd, vulgar terms, Republican nominee Donald Trump savaged both his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during the second presidential debate last night.
Trump raised the former president’s history with women, declaring that “there’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women.” He accused his rival of enabling her husband, pointing out that four of the women were in the audience as his guests.
“She should be ashamed of herself,” Trump said, a line he used multiple times throughout the night.
Clinton did not respond directly to Trump’s attacks, saying only, “When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: ‘When they go low, you go high.’”
When confronted with the comments he made in the 2005 video, in which Trump discussed kissing and groping women, Trump said it was “locker room talk,” before changing the subject to the Islamic State. He later insisted that he had “tremendous respect for women.”
Clinton said, “I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.”
From the beginning of the debate, which took place at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, both candidates seemed tense, nodding at each other when they walked onto the stage but not shaking hands.
In a town hall-style debate that quickly grew nasty, Trump threatened to prosecute his rival should he become president, saying he would instruct the attorney general to examine her email case again. When Clinton later commented, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country,” he cut in, saying, “Because you’d be in jail.”
Trump accused Clinton’s campaign of perpetuating the Obama birther controversy, saying her campaign “sent the pictures around with President Obama in certain garb,” though there is no evidence to support his claim.
The two candidates presented starkly different opinions on health care. Clinton discussed the benefits of the Affordable Care Act while acknowledging its rising costs, while Trump called it a “disaster,” promising to replace it with “something that works.” He did not provide details.
They clashed intensely on foreign policy, with Trump saying he disagreed with his running mate Mike Pence’s position that the United States should be prepared to use military force against the Assad regime. He said both Assad and Russia were “killing ISIS.”
“We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved,” said Trump.
Clinton supports investigating Russia and Syria for war crimes for their bombardment of Aleppo. “Russia hasn’t paid any attention to ISIS,” she said. “They’re interested in keeping Assad in power.”
Trump excoriated Clinton for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” declaring that “before you solve it, you have to say the name.” Clinton said Trump’s rhetoric was a “gift to ISIS and the terrorists”, emphasizing that “we are not at war with Islam.”
The candidates bickered about taxes and clean energy, their Supreme Court picks, and who would be the better person to unite the nation.
At one point, Trump brought up Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment, saying that she had “tremendous hatred in her heart.”
Clinton reminded the audience that she had apologized for her comments and clarified that her issue was not with his supporters.
“It’s with him and with the hateful and divisive campaign he has run,” she said.
Moderators Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC stayed in control of the debate, insisting on cutting off the candidates when their two minutes were over and pressing for details. Trump was not pleased.
“3 on 1,” he muttered at one point, implying that the moderators were biased against him.
The last question of the night came from Carl Becker, who asked each candidate to name one positive thing about the other.
“I respect his children,” Clinton said. “His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”
Of Clinton, Trump said, “She doesn’t give up. She is a fighter.”