On Monday, Sept. 26, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shared the stage for the first of three debates before the election on Nov. 8. The debate was moderated by “NBC Nightly News” anchor, Lester Holt and was split into six segments.
The debate started with Clinton discussing her plans for creating new jobs, establishing a higher national minimum wage and providing equal pay for women. She also mentioned creating more opportunities for families that are in the workforce. She stated, “Let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days. Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college.
While Trump said that he and Clinton were in agreement with regards to having affordable child care, when it was Trump’s turn to discuss the availability of jobs in the U.S., he claimed that the main issue is that other countries are stealing jobs. He explained, “We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people.”
The next segment of the debate centered around a discussion of taxation. Trump began by arguing that taxes on the wealthy and businesses should be lowered because the potential $2.5 trillion dollars that could go into the economy is going overseas. Clinton then responded by arguing that taxes on the wealthy should be increased so that they can pay their “fair share.” Clinton continued by reinforcing her economic vision that rather than investing in the wealthy, the government needs to invest in the middle class.
Holt then asked Trump why he has been unwilling to release his tax returns when the IRS has stated that he is free to release them despite the audit. Trump responded by saying that he will release his tax returns when Clinton releases the 33,000 emails that she deleted. Clinton, in turn rebutted, “We don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks.”
(Although the release of Trump’s tax returns was claimed to be contingent on Clinton’s providing of the deleted emails, a recent leak of his tax returns by the New York Times suggest that Trump has evaded paying taxes for nearly two decades.)
Clinton began the third segment of the debate by discussing how she would bridge America’s racial divide. Her plans entail amending relations between disadvantaged communities and the police by implementing better police training and taking guns out of the hands of those that should not have them.
Trump responded by stating that there needs to be more “law and order,” and that “stop and frisks” are a great way to achieve this goal. Trump cited New York as an example of how effective “stop and frisks” have been. Holt raised to Trump that the policy was ruled unconstitutional, as it had continually singled out black and Hispanic men. Trump responded, “No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and they are bad people that shouldn’t have them.”
The last segment of the debate dealt with national security and the United States’ No-first-use policy, in which, the United States promises not to use nuclear weapons during warfare unless another power uses them first.
Clinton discussed the increased threat of cyber attacks such as the hacking of the Democratic National Convention. Trump agreed with Clinton in that the U.S. is not doing enough to prevent these attacks or to combat ISIS’ media presence.
While Trump said that he would not have a first-use policy, he did condemn the Iran nuclear deal, ratified by the U.N. Security Council in 2015, stating that, “All they (Iran) have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much. And they’re going to end up getting nuclear.”
Clinton responded by saying, “There’s no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I’d rather deal with the other problems having put that lid on their nuclear program than still to be facing that.”
Clinton, in her closing statement, said that this election is about the people and what kind of future they want for themselves and their families. In Trump’s closing statement he repeated his campaign slogan, that he will “make America great again” and warned that this nation is in trouble with “people pouring into our country.”
The next debate will be at the University of St. Louis on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and the last debate will be at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 19.