Fortunately for all of our blood pressures, the third and final presidential debate is over. Even though there are still 18 days to go until Election Day, leaving plenty of time for scandals, lies, and other vitriol before November 8th, there will be no more live, hostile face-offs between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That means we can all chill for a sec and debrief on what exactly went down during Part Three of the most un-presidential series of presidential debates ever.
First off, even though there were plenty of heated moments, last night’s debate was markedly more tame than the first two. As a friend texted during the first few minutes of live coverage, “It’s like Trump took three Xanax.” Clinton was half stoic, half poised to aggressively take down Trump in the middle of various lies and accusations. The common refrain of many political pundits is that it was the first real debate, in the sense that the candidates focused on policy, didn’t immediately resort to character attacks, and gave somewhat substantial answers to most of moderator Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” who was by far the most vocal and involved moderator so far.
Here are the seven most unforgettable highlights from the debate.
Trump Said He Might Not Concede if He Loses.
In arguably the most WTF moment, Trump warned that he can’t promise he’ll formally accept a loss in November. (Contrary to what he has said in the past, and what Ivanka said just this week.) When pressed by Wallace to clarify, Trump said, “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now… I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” Clinton’s response: “That’s horrifying.”
Trump Called Clinton a “Nasty Woman.”
You have to give Clinton credit for a lot—especially for how she doesn’t stoop to Trump’s level by acknowledging or being distracted by his taunts. In answer to Wallace’s question about Clinton’s plans for the economy, she said, “…That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My social security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.” and Trump interrupted Clinton to snarl: “Such a nasty woman.”
Clinton Schooled Trump Hard on What She’s Accomplished.
In one of her strongest moments of the night, Clinton drove home the point that she’s beyond ready for this job, whereas Trump is, to say the least, pathetically unqualified—and any argument to the contrary is a joke. “On the day when I was in the situation room monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting the Celebrity Apprentice,” said Clinton, “So I’m happy to compare my 30 years of experience—what I’ve done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead—with your 30 years, and I’ll let the American people make that decision.”
Trump Made Awkward Comments About Race.
While talking about immigration, Trump said, “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out,” resulting in much hilarity on Twitter (see Merriam-Webster’s tweet, below). He also invoked his common refrain about inner cities and minorities: “Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education, they have no jobs. I will do more for African Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in ten lifetimes.” Here are some of the things that are wrong with that statement.
Clinton Delivered a Mic-Drop Closing Statement.
In what he must have hoped was a surprise move, Wallace asked the candidates to deliver closing remarks. You’d never know Clinton wasn’t prepared, with her super-smooth, articulate, and impassioned response: “I’ve seen the presidency up close and I know the awesome responsibility of protecting our country and the incredible opportunity of working to try to make life better for all of you… I hope you will give me a chance to serve as your president.”
Trump Denied Latest Sexual Assault Accusations.
Of the most recent slew of women who’ve accused Trump of groping or speaking to them inappropriately, he said, “Those stories have been largely debunked… I didn’t know any of these women, I didn’t see these women. I think they want either fame, or her campaign did it. And I think it’s her campaign.”
There Was No Handshake… Again.
People are starting to wonder if no handshake before or after the debate is going to be the new normal, or if it’s just a result of the spite Clinton and Trump have for one another. I guess we’ll find out in four years.
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