Clinton, Trump face off in second presidential debate


Photo by Krassotkin and Gage Skidmore, distributed under a (CC BY-SA 3.0) license, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jessica Bonacci, News Editor

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, respectively, met once again for the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis.

The candidates faced off in a town hall style debate, in which both the moderators and members from the audience had the opportunity to ask questions.

The town hall began with both candidates avoiding a handshake.


Candidates talk about setting an example for today’s youth

The first question from the audience addressed the candidates’ behavior at the previous debate and asked how each candidate sets an example for the youth of America.

Clinton said she thinks America is a great country, and its diversity should be celebrated.

“I have a very positive and optimistic view of what we can do together,” Clinton said.

Clinton said she aims to overcome differences, improve education and the economy and serve as the “president for all Americans” if elected.

Trump agreed with Clinton’s remarks, but criticized the policies and decisions of the current administration, including “Obamacare” and the Iran Nuclear deal.

Trump stressed the need for a stronger border, law and order, social justice and a healthier economy. He repeated his tagline, “make America great again.”

Neither candidate directly addressed the question of modeling behavior for younger Americans.


Trump responds to scandal

One of the debate topics included Trump’s recorded comments about sexually assaulting women to Access Hollywood.

“I’m not proud of [them],” Trump said referring to these comments.

Trump continued by apologizing to his family and Americans. He said that he is “very embarrassed” by the situation but it was all “locker room talk.”

Trump then added that he “will take care of ISIS” and expressed interest in moving to another topic.

He asserted that he has great respect for women and when asked by Anderson Cooper if he has committed the acts he described, Trump responded, “no I have not.”

Clinton responded by questioning Trump’s fitness to serve as President of the United States. She brought up the ways in which he has embarrassed other women and ranked them on appearance.

“Yes, this is who Donald Trump is,” Clinton said.

She stressed the message of Americans working together and said that, “America already is great.”

Trump responded by criticizing Clinton for inaction during her career in politics, saying “it’s just words folks, it’s just words.”


Candidates address health insurance

When an audience member asked about the effects of the Affordable Care Act, both candidates criticized the current insurance act.

Clinton emphasized a need to change parts of the plan while keeping the good parts, such as equal cost of insurance for women and men and the protection of those with pre-existing conditions. Clinton said she wants to get costs down but does not want to repeal the plan and have to “start all over again.”

Trump labeled Obamacare a “disaster.”

“We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive and something that works,” Trump said.

He said he wants to increase competition between companies to lower the cost of insurance and help those with pre-existing conditions keep their insurance.


Candidates talk about Islamophobia and refugees

When asked about how he will handle Islamophobia and Muslims being labeled a threat to the United States, Trump said it’s a “shame” and added, “we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on.”

Clinton said “there’s been a lot of divisive, dark things said about Muslims,” and the country needs “American Muslims to be a part of our eyes and ears on our front lines.”

When asked about the country accepting more refugees, Trump referred to a large amount of refugees entering the country as a “Trojan horse” and criticized Clinton for wanting an increase in the amount of refugees allowed in the U.S.

Clinton said she would not allow a refugee who “poses a risk” to enter the country. She also said the U.S. is not accepting as many refugees as it can, compared to other countries.


Candidates talk taxes

Trump said part of his plan includes “get[ting] rid of carried interest provisions” and cutting taxes for the middle class.

He criticized Clinton for never doing that while in office.

Clinton said Trump’s plan will help the wealthy Americans and large corporations. She refuted his statement on inaction in office and said she has wanted to get rid of carried interest.

“When I was a senator, I did vote to close corporate loopholes,” Clinton said.

Trump later admitted to using the tax laws to his advantage, saying he pays a lot in taxes and “a lot of [his] write off was depreciation.”


Trump, Clinton address crisis in Syria

Clinton called the situation “catastrophic” and said “there is a determined effort by [Russia] to destroy Aleppo” and to “keep…Assad in power.”

She said she “would not use American ground forces in Syria.”

Trump criticized the nuclear program for falling behind. He also disagreed with with running-mate Mike Pence and said they have not talked about the Assad regime in Syria and that “we have to worry about ISIS before we can get… involved.”


Candidates address energy reform

Trump criticized the current administration and said, “energy is under siege by the Obama administration.”

He criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for hurting energy companies and Clinton for decreasing jobs for coal miners.

Clinton stressed the importance of being “energy independent” and not having to rely on the Middle East.

The debate ended with both candidates answering an audience member’s request to name something positive about their opponent.

Clinton said although she does not agree with Trump on many occasions, “his children are incredible, able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald.”

Trump complimented Clinton for never giving up, saying “she doesn’t quit” and “she’s a fighter.”

Follow The Wood Word for coverage on the final presidential debate, which will be held on Oct. 19 at 9 p.m ET.

Read the full debate transcript here and watch the full debate here.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @JBonacciTWW