As Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump vied to win this year’s first presidential debate, one thing was for sure: Clinton came prepared.
“Yes I did,” Clinton said about preparing for the debate. “And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president and I think that’s a good thing.”
The two verbally battled it out on issues related to the economy, race and security Monday at Long Island’s Hofstra University debate, moderated by NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt.
Clinton said that she plans to focus on changing the policies that led to the Great Recession, saying that clean energy and technology could be the key to added jobs and economic activity.
“We had the worst financial crisis — the great recession, the worst since the 1930s,” she said. “That was, in large part, because of tax policies that slash taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street and created a perfect storm. In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, gee, I hope it does collapse because then I can go in and buy some and make some money. Well, it did collapse.”
Trump had no qualms about looking to profit from financial collapse.
“That’s called business, by the way,” he said.
Trump, who doesn’t believe in climate change and blamed the Federal Reserve for not being aggressive in raising interest rates to get the economy moving, said that his focus is keeping jobs local. He said that Clinton’s plan, which would raise taxes on those making more than $5 million annually, would drive those employers to move out of the country.
A report by the Tax Foundation said that Trump’s proposed tax plan would likely reduce federal revenue by between $2.6 trillion and $3.9 trillion over the next 10 years, while Clinton’s plan would likely increase it by $498 billion. The benefit of Trump’s tax cuts would go solely to the nation’s highest earners.
Clinton said that Trump, who still hasn’t shared his tax returns, might not want people to know that he hasn’t paid recent taxes since he hasn’t paid them in the past.
“That makes me smart,” Trump said.
When asked how to heal the nation’s racial divide, neither candidate provided a clear answer.
Clinton focused on criminal justice reform and gun control as a way to tackle race relations with the police.
“We have to restore trust, we have to work with the police, we have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them and we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we are seeing today,” she said.
Trump said that “law and order” needed to be restored, without giving much of an explanation as to what that entails. A part of “law and order,” Trump said, would be to re-implement stop-and-frisk around the country.
When Holt, the debate moderator, explained that stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men, Trump interrupted
“No, you’re wrong,” he said. “It went before a judge who was a very against police judge,” Trump said to him.
And as he has in the past, Trump turned to Chicago — using the city as an example of a place in need of reform.
“You need more police,” he said. “You need a better community, you know relation, you don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible.”
Clinton said that going after ISIS online is a key concern and that her track record as secretary of state shows she can handle foreign threats as commander-in-chief.
“I was involved in a number of efforts to take out al-Qaida leadership when I was secretary of state, including, of course, taking out bin Laden,” she said. “And I think we need to go after that body as well, that one of our organizing principles because we have got to get ISIS. And we have got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online.”
Trump, who said that he did not support the war in Iraq although he did so in an interview with Howard Stern in 2002, said that Clinton doesn’t have a real plan to fight ISIS.
“No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life,” he exaggerated.