The first presidential debate of the 2016-2017 season took place on Sept. 26. It pitted democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton against the republican nominee Donald Trump. The debate lasted 90 minutes, allowing both candidates to speak their minds in a timely fashion.
The first question asked about the tax plans of both of the candidates. This was an important question because it is one of the more significant issues that will majorly affect the outcome of this election. While Trump suggests cutting taxes would be beneficial to the United States, Secretary Clinton wants to raise them for the wealthy.
Throughout the night, the candidates threw opinions and facts back and forth, aiming to influence the public to vote for them. But Trump threw out more than just opinions when he brought up Clinton’s nearly 3,000 emails that she kept on a private server.
The previous editor-in-chief of The Mountain and current Hofstra University student, Rachel Bowman, was able to see this exchange first-hand when she attended the debate. Bowman stated, “…Trump was asked about his tax returns…instead of just answering the question, he brought up Clinton’s emails. It showed the difference in their professionalism because Clinton acknowledged she made a mistake, but Trump refuses to admit he’s doing anything wrong.”
The candidates would easily get off-topic, often cutting off the moderator, Lester Holt. On many occasions, Holt was unable to finish asking his question.
Bowman commented, “I think Trump would purposely avoid directly answering some questions or would twist Holt’s words and would say stuff that would agitate Clinton, causing the debate to get off topic, but eventually Holt would bring it back together.”
Clinton found what Trump had to say incredibly comical, or so it seemed, seeing as she could not keep her smiles or giggles to herself whenever he had something to say. In addition to this, Trump continuously interrupted Clinton, putting down her opinions before she had a chance to make her main points.
Another main point Trump spoke about was about Clinton’s inability to run in office, due to lack of “stamina” as he put it. His opinion may have been shaped by Clinton’s illness a couple of weeks ago. Many believe this sudden illness was caused by the stress and rigor of the campaign trail. It was later confirmed that she had pneumonia, causing many to become skeptical of her inability to run the country. Clinton seemed untouched by Trumps accusations.
Bowman said, “…her temperament was much more calm and collected than Trump’s.”
Concerning Clinton’s illness, many thought it was possible that she wouldn’t recover before this debate. But eventually she regained her strength and hopped right back onto the campaign trail, helping the public to believe that she may be prepared for office after all. However, a recent event has caused speculation throughout the public thinking that Clinton has epilepsy. This happened after she made various jerky movements with her upper body and had uncontrollable face muscle spasms while talking to the press.
Although Trump struck many blows against Clinton, Clinton respectfully shot back at Trump multiple times throughout the night. Clinton had been preparing for this debate for months and it showed. By staying calm and speaking at the perfect moment, Clinton was able to anger the unprepared Trump and cause him to slip up, allowing her to gain an advantage.
Despite doubts and many fears about the debate, it went better than expected. The next presidential debate will take place on Oct. 9