The first of three U.S. presidential debates got underway on Monday evening in New York which saw Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton going on the offense and sharply criticizing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s character and judgment to lead the country.
Clinton called out Donald Trump over his failure to release his tax returns and portrayed the billionaire presidential candidate as racist and a champion of the rich whose own economic plan for America will greatly add to the federal deficit and lead to a recession.
Trump became defensive after debate moderator Lester Holt pointed out that it is still possible for him to release his tax return while he’s being audited which remains Trump’s recycled excuse for not releasing his tax returns as other presidential candidates have done over the past 40 years.
Trumps explained that he would release his tax returns when Clinton releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted.
Trump said he’s “smart” for not paying any federal income tax which he admitted after Clinton gave a three point bullet point assessment about the reasons Trump may be reluctant to show Americans his tax returns.
“First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be” Clinton said.
“Third, 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. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax” Clinton added.
Claiming that his tax returns are something that Americans deserve to see, Clinton questioned if Trump were ever to get near the White House, who he owes money to is an answer that he owes to the American public.
According to a August 25th Quinnipiac poll, a majority of Americans (74 % to 21 %) want Donald Trump to release his tax returns which even includes Republicans (62 % to 31 %).
Clinton recalled her humble upbringing as the daughter of a father who owned a small business printing drapery fabrics on long tables and contrasted her own simple upbringing to Donald Trump who started his business with $14 million borrowed from his father.
Trump’s Economic Plan
Trump was questioned about his campaign talk of creating 25 million job and promise to bring back “millions of jobs” for Americans.
Trump responded by criticizing China for devaluing their currency and Mexico for imposing a VAT tax on American goods entering Mexico.
Trump finally got around to answering the question and said “the first thing you do is don’t let the jobs leave” while referencing what appears to be a tariff even though he didn’t use that exact word.
“But if you think you’re going to make your air conditioners or your cars or your cookies or whatever you make and bring them into our country without a tax, you’re wrong” Trump said.
Trump admitted that American politicians never tax them coming in because they have “special interests” and the special interests want those companies to leave, because in many cases, they own the companies.
Trump called NAFTA a “defective agreement” and emphasized that politicians haven’t done anything about it.
Clinton defended NAFTA and said that incomes went up for everyone and manufacturing jobs went up in the 90’s.
Calling Trump’s tax plan “trumped up trickle down” Clinton claimed his plan would put forth trickle down economics all over again and later explained it didn’t work as an economic model.
“In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we’ve ever had” Clinton said.
Clinton blamed the Great Recession on tax policies that “slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.”
Trump criticized Clinton for supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which she said she opposed once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out.
Clinton said that “people” have looked at both of their economic plans and concluded that hers would create 10 million jobs and Trump’s would lose 3.5 million jobs, and explode the debt which would have a recession.
Clinton also pointed out that Trump’s plans would add $ 5 trillion to the national debt.
Trump defended his tax plan and said it is the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
“I’m very proud of it. It will create tremendous numbers of new jobs. But regulations, you are going to regulate these businesses out of existence” Trump said about Clinton’s plans.
Big, Fat, Ugly Bubble
According to Donald Trump, America is in a “big, fat, ugly bubble.”
Although Fed Chair Janet Yellen insisted last Wednesday at the Fed’s September FOMC press conference that the Fed isn’t political and doesn’t discuss politics at their meetings, Trump claimed during the debate on Monday evening that the Federal Reserve is not doing their job and is “more political than Secretary Clinton.”
Trump said the Fed is “doing political…by keeping the interest rate at this level” and when they raise interest rates “your going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job.”
Trump Denied Stop and Frisk Is Unconstitutional
Moderator Lester Holt questioned Donald Trump about his support of Stop and Frisk, a controversial law enforcement approach which was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. district court judge in 2013.
On August 12, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled the controversial police tactic was unconstitutional and the de Blasio administration in New York dropped an earlier appeal from the Bloomberg administration to challenge the ruling.
“Stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men” said Moderator Lester Holt.
Trump replied, “No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.”
Clinton responded, “Stop and frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.”
Clinton Calls Out Trump Over Racism
Clinton maintained that Donald Trump started his political activity based on a racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen and pointed out he was also sued in 1973 for racial discrimination towards blacks.
“But, remember, Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy. He actually was sued twice by the Justice Department” Clinton said.
Clinton questioned Trump’s temperament and asked if he stable enough to have control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
“So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned?”
Trump said that his strongest asset “maybe by far” is his temperament which resulted in some laughter in the crowd.
Trump blamed President Obama and Clinton for creating a power vacuum in Iraq the way they got out and ISIS was ultimately formed.
But the Iraq exit plan was actually started under former President George Bush before Obama entered the Oval Office.
During the debate, Trump denied that he ever supported the invasion of Iraq.
However, in a 2002 Howard Stern radio interview Trump is on record saying, “Yeah, I guess so” when questioned directly by Stern if he supports the U.S. invasion in Iraq.
“I wish the first time it was done correctly” Trump added.
Trump also advocated for the bombing of Libya to remove Gaddafi in 2011 during his own video blog that can be viewed here:
Despite the 2002 Howard Stern radio interview where he affirmed his support for the Iraq invasion, Trump falsely claimed during the Monday evening debate that he never supported U.S. military intervention in Iraq and that it was all a mainstream media lie.
“The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity” Trump said during the debate when challenged.
Trump continued to insist that the U.S. should have taken Iraqi oil after the war, a move that would have likely resulted in widespread international condemnation and a large revenue shortfall for Iraq’s rebuilding efforts.
Trump explained near the end of the debate that he wants to make America great again and he’s going to be able to do it.
Post Debate Online Survey Result
According to Public Policy Polling, Clinton beat Trump 51/40 during a post debate online survey which can be found here.