The biggest moments from the first presidential debate
Clinton attacks Trump over treatment of women
Moderator Lester Holt challenged GOP nominee Donald Trump over his claim last month about Hillary Clinton lacking a “presidential look.” Some interpreted the comment as sexist, but Trump claimed it only had to do with “stamina.” Clinton disagreed and ticked off a list of comments Trump has made over the years, including calling women pigs and slobs. Trump responded, falsely, that he only made such comments about the comedian Rosie O’Donnell, and he said she deserved it.
Trump’s incorrect framing of NYC’s stop and frisk policies
In the segment covering race, criminal justice and crime, Trump doubled down on his support for the controversial and discontinued New York City policing strategy stop and frisk, which he’d endorsed during a campaign stop in Cleveland last week.
“African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell,” Trump said. “You walk down the street [in some cities] and you get shot… What is this? Is this a war-torn country?”
When Holt prodded Trump on the policy, noting it was ruled unconstitutional by a federaljudge in 2013, Trump responded that the ruling U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin was “anti-police” and that the practice was ruled only “partly” unconstitutional.
This is incorrect. In her 195-page ruling, Scheindlin condemned stop and frisk because she found it disproportionately targeted blacks and Hispanics. Her ruling and handling of the case was subsequently criticized by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a federal appeals panel. Two weeks later, the panel issued a second opinion softening their earlier criticism, and said they had “no findings of misconduct, actual bias or actual partiality” in the judge’s ruling.
Other high-profile cases Scheindlin has presided over during her career have been predominantly business- and terror-related.
Trump claims he didn’t support the Iraq War
Former Secretary of State Clinton and Trump both pleaded for fact-checkers as they dueled over national security. Trump bellowed “wrong, wrong” as Clinton claimed that he had supported the March 2003 invasion in Iraq. But he did indeed voice support for the invasion in 2002 and there is no evidence that he opposed any part of the invasion until after American troops were in Iraq. Lester Holt challenged Trump with these facts and Trump refused to relent: “I did not support the war in Iraq.”
Clinton also asked for fact-checkers to hold Trump accountable. Trump claimed that Clinton and President Obama had created ISIS by withdrawing all the troops from Iraq in 2011 and criticized Obama and Clinton for not taking away Iraq’s oil. If they had left troops, Trump said, ISIS could never have risen. It is true that ISIS was allowed to take over large swathes of territory without a significant military force opposing them. ISIS also used Iraq’s oil to help finance their activities. But Clinton argued correctly that George W. Bush originally set 2011 as the date for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Trump says he has a better temperament than Clinton
Donald Trump’s personality has been described in many terms, but “even temperament” isn’t usually one of them.
Toward the end of the debate, the Republican nominee not only insisted that his temperament is better than his opponent’s but also that “my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.”
The crowd laughed, and Clinton grinned, visibly amused at his comment.
“A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his hands anywhere near the nuclear codes,” she said, referencing his vengeful Twitter reactions to perceived slights.
– Olivia Becker
Trump’s lie about Obama’s birth certificate
Trump has in the past five years consistently stoked the conspiracy theory that President Obama may not actually be an American citizen and demanding he release his birth certificate. He’s mentioned it many, many times since 2011, the WSJ found. In the debate Monday night, Trump defended his behavior surrounding the “birther” controversy.
“He should have produced it a long time before,” Trump said, adding that he believed he did a very good thing” by forcing Obama to release his birth certificate when he did.
Holt interrupted to point out that this discussion was taking place in the midst of a segment on racial healing. Clinton then added that Trump’s birther controversy was part of his “long history of engaging in racist behavior.”
“He really started his political activity by this racist lie that our first black president is not an American citizen,” Clinton said.
Just over a week ago, Trump floated the false claim that it was actually Clinton who started the birther claim, during her 2008 bid against Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. He then admitted that the allegation that Obama was not a citizen was unfounded, but he has yet to offer an apology or fully acknowledge that he lied.
Trump, Clinton and America’s struggle with race relations
“We have to bring back law and order,” said Donald Trump when asked about repairing race relations in America. In the inner cities, Trump said, African-Americans and Hispanics are “living in hell” because they are getting shot on the street. He said cities like Chicago should consider adopting “stop and frisk,” a police tactic that allows police to detain people without probable cause and was found to be unconstitutional by a federal court. Trump disagreed that it was unconstitutional, claiming without evidence that the judge was anti-police.
Answering the same question on race relations, Clinton said there was “systemic racism” in America’s criminal justice system. “If you’re a African-American man, and you do the same thing as a white man,” she said, “you’re more likely to be convicted, charged and arrested.
Police, she said, need to be trained thoroughly in when to use lethal force. Communities need to respect police and police need to respect communities, she added. Besides better training and more dialogue between police and minority communities, Clinton didn’t propose many specifics.
“I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police.”
Interestingly, the only area Clinton and Trump (who was endorsed by the NRA) appeared to agree on was gun control. Both said that the government must take guns away from people in order to bring inner-city violence down.
One way or another
“If I don’t get there in one way, I’m going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another.”
With that, Donald Trump plugged the new Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., which opened earlier this month in the refurbished historic Old Post Office building just a few blocks from the White House.
The Trump Organization won the contract to redevelop the building in 2012 and a 60-year lease to operate a hotel there. Tonight, 100 million people wee expected to watch the debate, an aggregate audience on par with the Super Bowl, albeit across many networks. CBS charged advertisers $5 million for time in the 2016 Super Bowl, and Fox no doubt will ask for more in 2017. So, no matter how you do the math, it was a nice moment of synergy for Trump, the kind of overlap of public/private interests his critics say demand he release his tax returns to be more transparent about his business interests.
Do Americans have a right to know about Trump’s tax returns?
Holt didn’t waste any time in bringing up one of the central criticisms levied against Trump this past year: Does the public have a right to know about his personal tax returns?
Trump offered his usual defense for not revealing his personal financial information, which is the norm for presidential nominees. Trump said he’s happy to release his tax returns as soon as the IRS is done with what he called “a routine audit” of his taxes. Holt shot back that the IRS has said that Trump is free to release his returns whenever he pleases. Indeed, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in Februarythat it is “rare” for an individual taxpayer to be audited every year, as Trump insisted he has been. Koskinen also noted there is nothing legally stopping any taxpayer from releasing his or her returns publicly.
But Trump dodged the fact-check on stage by saying he would release his returns once Clinton released the deleted emails from her time as secretary of state, which elicited the first outburst of cheers from the audience.
VICE News has taken Trump’s word and earlier this month sued the IRS under the Freedom of Information Act for all of his tax returns dating back to 2002. We’re still waiting for the response.
This isn’t the first time Trump has demanded that something else be publicized before he’d consider revealing his tax returns. In 2011, he said he might release his financial information if President Obama released his birth certificate, adding, “I’d love to give my tax returns.”
“True things” vs. “Crazy things”
“By the end of the night,” Hillary Clinton said, “I’m going to be blamed for everything bad that’s ever happened.”
“Why not?” Trump retorted.
Trump claimed that Clinton’s leadership had allowed trillions of dollars to be stored overseas by American companies trying to avoid taxes. Trump claimed the problem was “bureaucratic red tape,” while Clinton claimed the problem was special exemptions for the wealthy. Many American companies store profits and revenues overseas in order to avoid American taxes, Trump said.
As for who was right, Clinton contended Trump was saying “crazy things” while Trump said he was merely saying “true things.”
On fighting ISIS:
Climate change: Real or a Chinese hoax?
One of the earliest flashpoints in the debate centered on climate change. Clinton pointed out that while she believes in climate change, Trump thinks it’s a “hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” Trump interrupted immediately to deny that he has said anything of the sort. But — fact-check! —Trump did indeed tweet something similar in 2012:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
The debate starts with jobs
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton began the first presidential debate tonight by squaring off on how to create jobs. Clinton began by calling for “an economy that works for everyone,” adding that we have to make the economy fairer” and called for pay equality across gender lines. Clinton called for a tax system that “rewards work and not just financial transactions.” She also called for aid for child care and for families struggling to make ends meet.
Trump, meanwhile, focused on what he suggested were a flood of jobs leaving the U.S. and going to places where labor’s cheaper. “Our jobs are fleeing the country, they’re going to Mexico, they’re going many other countries,” he said. Saying that he’d be the biggest job creator since Ronald Reagan, Trump also suggested he’d penalize companies that moved jobs abroad. “Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things to ever happen to manufacturing,” Trump said to Clinton.
“You’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Trump said. “I will bring back jobs; you can’t bring back jobs.”
Debate live thread
Starting at 9 p.m. ET, VICE News will be covering the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Alex Thompson is reporting live from the debate, and our reporters and video team are standing by to share the key clips and moments from tonight’s debate. We’ll update this page with the latest throughout the night.