Hillary Clinton donned a red dress Monday night as she faced suited Republican nominee Donald Trump in the first presidential debate of 2016, moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt.
Holt brought up key topics and prompted the nominees’ answers, even when both candidates tirelessly worked toward pressing each others’ buttons. After each candidate’s initial statement, the first major theme of the debate was how to put money in the pocket of Americans. Trump started lightly, arguing that China has a better economic direction and that it had put the U.S. into a state of consumption and of loss of production, using America as a piggy bank to rebuild their country.
According to Trump, companies are leaving the U.S. for better cost of labor, mostly to Mexico. Although he seemed relaxed, it was clear that Donald Trump was nervous seeing that Clinton appeared to be confident and adamant.
Hillary Clinton then responded and focused on fair deals, taxes and fiscal systems that benefit people and not transactions. She assured that Trump will only incur in cuts that go from the top and downward, while she aims for going from the bottom to the top to make the economy grow. The Democratic candidate noted that Trump started his business with a millionaire loan and that he believes that the more help the wealthy receive it’s better, but she digressed by remembering her father, a middle-class craftsman who painted fabrics by hand.
Trump emphasized that countries like China offer corporate benefits that the U.S. cannot afford, and then pointed out that Clinton has been working for 30 years in the government and that it is now that she wants to do something out of America’s problems.
Holt diverted the topic unto employment, but Clinton chose to answer by remembering that amid the 2008 financial crisis, Trump yearned for the collapse of Wall St., as he could profit from five million people losing their jobs.
Clinton then named taxes, adding that her plan is to transform taxable income into 10 million jobs, while Trump plans to save more money by reducing taxes from 35 to 15 percent. It is the goal of Hillary Clinton to make the United States a dominant force in the 21st century by leading the world in the field of green energy as a new economic activity.
Donald Trump then remembered that public debt doubled in Obama’s terms and that Hillary’s objectives are impossible seeing the current amount of debt. He assured that the solution lies in keeping jobs in America and helping businesses, and also remembered the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the worst trade deal ever made in the United States.
NAFTA established a trilateral trade relation between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, where the United States is the largest producer and ended up importing more products that could not account for its exports. Canada had an improvement in its GDP, and it managed to increase its exports to the U.S. and Mexico. The Journal of Economic Perspectives of 2001 classified NAFTA as a net benefit for Americans.
Clinton argued that Trump’s remarks were not accurate and that there were new issues to focus on.
Holt then addressed the prosperity of Americans. Hillary Clinton did not hesitate to call for the reduction of student loan debt, as it would help middle-class Americans to enter college and get a better education with lesser financial struggles.
Trump’s taxes and employment practices
Quickly the debate veered onto taxes, and Holt highlighted that Trump has not released his tax return statements. The business mogul answered that he was being audited and whenever the process is finished he will reveal his statements. But he also said that he might do it earlier if Clinton revealed what happened to the emails.
At this time, Clinton seemed relaxed and assured that Donald Trump was afraid of revealing his tax returns for several plausible reasons. The Democratic nominee said perhaps he has not as much money as he makes people believe, or he owes millions to Wall St. and to international banks, or he has not paid taxes for a very long time. She acknowledged that the email incident was a mistake and assumed her guilt in a well-tempered manner.
After some heated comments from both candidates, Hillary leaned on the fact that Trump has not treated his employees as he should. She mentioned there was an architect in the audience that had designed one of Trump’s clubhouses, and that the candidate did not pay him in full. Trump answered that he was not satisfied with his job.
Race and recent shootings
The subject then switched to race and the recent shootings of black individuals. Hillary Clinton acknowledged that race is a subject of importance, especially today, as it has heavy implications on education and civil society. She emphasized her proposal for penal reform and stricter gun control.
The Republican nominee argued that the U.S. needed more law and order, adding that America’s black communities are neglected by the current administration. He also maintained his stance on random frisks by police, which Clinton condemned as unconstitutional and prone to racism acts.
Hillary Clinton made a point where Americans have to realize that racism is not only present in the media stories and that one must seriously ask oneself where do the feelings of race distinction come from.
Lester Holt remembered Trump about his claim that Obama was born in Kenya. Trump revealed that he was prepared to answer the question and let everyone know that, conveniently, an investigation was conducted in the African country and that no certificate linked to Obama was found. He then tried to link his constant remarks on Obama’s birthplace as a matter of national security, as he intends to defeat ISIS. Trump assured that it was him who forced Obama to show his birth certificate.
Clinton could not help but laugh and openly labeled Trump’s lies as racist, as he naively insisted on a conspiracy that had no solid evidence to back it up. At this time, Trump appeared to be shaken, as he could only repeat what he has only preached over the course of the presidential race, while Clinton was firm on her proposals and plans on each of the issues, without needing to focus on Trump’s faults, although she did not hesitate to attack the Manhattan entrepreneur whenever she had a chance.
Terrorism and foreign policy
As Trump brought the matter of security to the table, Holt asked both candidates about national security, specifically cyber security. Clinton acknowledged cyber terrorism as a threat, adding that Russia was without a doubt behind recent cyber attacks directed towards the Democratic National Headquarters. But Trump said that even Democrats took advantage of the attack. He claimed that, under the Obama administration, the U.S. was out of control.
Larry Holt asked the candidates about homeland terrorist attacks. Trump answered by stating the need to eliminate ISIS and assured that Obama and Clinton had created the terrorist organization by allowing a power vacuum to form in the Middle East with the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq, even if the arrangement for the withdrawal of troops was made in George W. Bush’s administration. Holt remembered Trump that he backed up the war on Iraq, but Trump simply said that that was a lie.
The final punches
Hillary Clinton finally laughed and stated that the words one uses as a presidential candidate matters. Especially when she’s aiming to become the President of the United States. She vowed to support Japan and South Korea and to follow set agreements in cooperation and claimed that Trump did not have a clear plan for defeating ISIS while she in fact does.
Trump acknowledged Clinton’s experience but assured that it was “bad” experience, even if she had already promoted several ceasefires, offered over 12 hours of testimonials, and visited over a hundred countries to negotiate for peace. He tried to bring attention to Clinton’s appearance and lack of energy for negotiation, but it appears that the shots backfired as the Democratic candidate remembered Trump’s misogynistic behaviors and calling model Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy.”
To finish, Holt asked if they would acknowledge the results. Clinton vowed to accept the election’s results while Trump instead called to “make America great again.”