Racism and terrorism key battles during Clinton, Trump debate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Racism and terrorism key battles during Clinton, Trump debate

Hempstead, NY (WMC) -

Millions of people across the nation tuned in to the first presidential debate between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Although Clinton and Trump shook hands to begin and end the debate, there was no sign of friendship between those handshakes. From racism, taxes, emails, to terror and national security, the candidates addressed issues important to Americans while taking their shots at their opponent.

Trump and Clinton both strategically wore colors that portrayed an important message and concept they wanted to send to the voters, but simultaneously wearing the opposite party's colors. Clinton hit the stage in a solid red pants suit, a color that symbolizes strength, determination, and power. Trump, on the other hand, chose blue. Wearing a blue tie, the Republican nominee hoped to convey the color's symbolism of trust, loyalty, wisdom, and confidence.

The expectation of tempers flaring up and emotions running high was certainly what viewers received during the more than 90 minute debate. NBC's Lester Holt struggled as anchor and moderator to keep the candidates to their time limits and to keep the debate on schedule, as each candidate was determined to complete their answers and thoughts without giving heed to any type of time limit.

After Trump took a swing at Clinton for her preparation for the debate, Clinton spoke one of the most quoted and memorable lines perhaps of the debate.

"I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for the debate, and yes I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president, and I think that's a good thing," Clinton said. 

Later in the debate Trump tried to turn Clinton's experience against her.

"Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience. We have made so many bad deals during the last--so she's got experience, that I agree. But it's bad, bad experience," Trump said.

National security and ISIS

Clinton was put on the defensive when it came to national security, not only with the anticipated emails and cyber security, but when it came to ISIS and terrorism.

Trump accused Clinton of tipping off the enemy by putting her plans on how she would fight ISIS on her website, thus making them available to anyone...including ISIS. 

However, Clinton defended her decision saying she had a plan to fight ISIS and Trump did not. Trump quickly shot back with "We will take out ISIS."

Trump threw punches at Clinton, to the extent to where he accused her of being the cause of the rise of ISIS. He said Clinton and President Barack Obama created a 'vacuum' that allowed ISIS to thrive when the United States military troops left the area. 

"They wouldn't have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that," Trump said. 

Fact checkers said Trump was inaccurate in pointing the blame at Clinton for that agreement. It was President Bush who oversaw and finalized the agreement to bring the troops out of Iraq. However, President Obama was president when the last of the remaining troops left in 2011. Fact checkers also point out that in 2008 Trump called for the removal of all troops from the area; he said if he was president, he would have them all brought back home and out of Iraq.

Taxes and emails

Two very familiar topics for both candidates were the subjects of emails and taxes. Despite Lester Holt referencing, during one of his questions directed at Trump, that the IRS had confirmed that Trump can release tax documents while he is being audited, Trump continued to maintain it was on the advice of his attorneys that he was not releasing them while he was being audited. However, he made a bold statement...which gained applause and a lot of response from the audience.

"I will release my tax returns if she will release the 33,000 emails," Trump said, referencing the deleted emails of Hillary Clinton. 

Clinton called the deleted emails an accident, but Trump struck back and said it was not an accident when those involved pleaded the Fifth Amendment so they would not be prosecuted.


Racism was a dominant topic within the more than 90-minute debate, as Clinton criticized Trump regarding race relations and Trump struck back at her.

"He has a long history of engaging in racist behavior," Clinton said of Trump, as Trump visibly disagreed by shaking his head. "He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it. But, he persisted. He persisted year after year."

Although Trump has struggled to capture the support of African-American voters, who seem to favor Clinton, he said he believes his policies will benefit the minority population, alleging the Obama and Clinton policies have failed African-Americans and minorities.

Trump said there is a great need to decrease the violence in minority communities, and he would address those issues.

"We need law and order in the inner cities," Trump said. 

But, Clinton jumped on the topic and took the opportunity to go the reverse and criticize Trump for painting such a negative picture of African-American communities.

"It's really unfortunate that he paints such a dire picture of black communities in this country," Clinton said. "We have to restore trust between communities and police."

Clinton said she believed in community policing and did not believe stop and frisk was effective nor was it constitutional, thus she did not support it. 

Trump said the stop and frisk policy reduced crime in New York. He said he supported it. He also took the opportunity to try and paint Clinton as racist. He did so by saying she used the term "super predator" when referring to African-American youths in 1996.

Foreign policy and trade

Trump took to the offensive when it came to trade deals, quickly attacking Clinton on her record of foreign policy and trade. 

"Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience," Trump said, referencing international deals he said were not good decisions. He attacked Clinton's foreign trade policies and said she would make a controversial trade deal with Asian countries, despite her having objected to the trade during her candidacy.

Clinton struck back and denied the allegation by saying Trump lived in his own world.


Everyone has a different opinion of who won the debate, but the bottom line is it was one of, if not the, most watched presidential debate in history.

Tuesday, Trump went on the defensive about the debate. See what he says happened during the debate here.

Click here to see how people around the world reacted to the debate.

Click here to go through Associated Press' Fact Check of the entire debate.

Next debates

The next presidential debate will be Sunday, October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. You can submit questions and vote on questions for this debate by clicking here.

This debate will be in the form of a town hall meeting where half of the questions will be asked by citizens and the other half will be asked by a moderator.

The last presidential debate will be held Wednesday, October 19, at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV. This debate will be the same format as the first debate.

Preview before the debate

The days leading up to this much anticipated night have been nothing less than busy and interesting for both camps.

Both camps were busy all the way up until almost air time preparing for the debate, in what was a crucial appearance for both candidates in the first of three scheduled debates.

The debate aired at 9 p.m. EST and was held at Hofstra University in New York, a state that will also prove crucial to the election since both candidates have strong claims to the state.

The billionaire businessman Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York and is a home state boy. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, served as senator for the state, although she was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is the former first lady of Arkansas. She also has the odds in her favor since the last time the state of New York went to a Republican in a presidential election was during Ronald Reagan's landslide re-election in 1984. Both candidates carried New York in their respective primaries, but only one will take the state during November's election.

Voters will be watching both candidates closely in a few different areas during the debate. Hillary Clinton will need to prove to Americans she is trustworthy. She has struggled throughout the election due to the continuous onslaught of attacks focused on her email scandals, leaks, and Benghazi. 

Trump will need to prove to the voters he had the temperament and abilities to be commander-in-chief without letting emotions override sound decisions. With a campaign that has been based on the idea of shaking up Washington and that seemed, at times, to be firing from the hip with statements and ideas, Trump has dialed it back since receiving the nomination and voters will be watching to see if Clinton can rattle Trump. Trump was known for throwing out personal attacks at his opponents in the Republican debates and the campaigns between him and Clinton have been more of the same. Voters are likely to see the gloves come off and personal attacks be fired throughout the 90-minute event, just as in many of the candidates' ads that are already on air.

One thing that could prove a difference maker during the event is Clinton's experience with presidential debates. She has more than double the experience debating on live TV, since Trump is the newcomer in the national spotlight of politics.

Trump's only experience comes from the 12 Republican primary debates, as opposed to Clinton's more than 30 times debating at the presidential level, including one-on-one battles against President Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016. This will be Trump's first time going one-on-one with an opponent.

NBC's Lester Holt will be the anchor and moderator of the event. Last week a list of topics for the debate was released. Clinton and Trump will square off on topics that include "America's Direction," "Achieving Prosperity," and "Securing America." All three are subjects both candidates have addressed continuously in their campaigns are are very familiar with. The debate will be another chance for them to highlight their differences and try to convince voters their ideas are the best.

The format calls for six 15-minute time segments. Two 15-minute segments will focus on each of the released topics. 

Monday night's debate comes at a critical time as some states in the union are already open for early voting. 

Clinton is hoping to ride the wave of popularity that President Barack Obama has been getting as his term in the White House begins to come to a close. However, she has struggled in getting the same voters who put Obama in as president to rally behind her. She needs to energize the young and diverse group of voters that propelled President Obama to two terms. Her camp is hoping that the same group that has yet to come completely on board with her will see her as an experienced, steady, and trustworthy individual that should be placed in a position of power such as the presidency. 

Trump is expected to jump on Clinton's untrustworthiness, and to build upon his platforms of securing America...particularly by building a physical wall along the Mexican border, and strengthening the military. Trump has struggled, on the other hand, to capture a lot of the minority support that he will need to pull away from Clinton and Democratic party in order to gain the victory. 

Trump has also struggled to gain the support of some of his own party's tallest and strongest leaders. President George W. Bush and President George H.W. Bush have been critical of Trump, even to the point of skipping the National Convention. Although they have not been as vocal as former first lady Barbara Bush, who has openly criticized Trump, even saying she didn't understand how any woman could vote for him. Along the lines of his family, former Republican nominee and Florida governor Jeb Bush skipped the convention and said he would not be voting for Clinton or Trump. In addition, Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee, said he would not be supporting Trump. 

The debates could prove to be one last chance for Trump to gain the support of some of his party's key players.

It's also expected that both candidates will address the nation's race relations and racial tensions, specifically with the recent New York attacks.

The days leading up to the debate has proved to be full of preparation, team building, and mind games.

Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, spent a lot of time on the phone and through multiple messages to bring Trump's former Republican primary rival Ted Cruz on board with an endorsement. Cruz, who initially refused to endorse Trump even after all candidates pledged their support for whoever received the nomination and snubbed the Republican hopeful at the National Convention, took to social media to express his change of tune and endorsement on Friday.

"After many  months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump," Cruz wrote in a Facebook post. "A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And, if you don't want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.

With the recent polls showing only a two percent difference, putting Clinton ahead of Trump 49 percent to 47 percent with likely voters and the two are in a dead heat tie at 46 percent among all registered voters, Clinton's camp began mind games just days before the debate.

Clinton offered a front row seat to the debate to billionaire businessman and very stout critic of Trump, Mark Cuban. She also invited 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning as well as Maxine Outerbridge to get a front row seat to the battle. Outerbridge touts the children's health insurance program and benefited from the program. The Children's Health Insurance Program is a program that Clinton backed when she was first lady. Clinton is also bringing with her Anastasia Somoza, who is a disability rights advocate, and Aleatha Williams, a longtime pen-pal of the woman who has shattered the glass ceiling. 

However, Trump is not coming unarmed and is also stepping up the game with his guests.

He's bringing in the brass. The military brass that is. General Michael Flynn and General Keith Kellogg will be joining Trump for his first presidential debate against Clinton. In a debate that will talk about national security, and where a large majority of Americans are afraid and want to feel safe, Trump's move to bring with him military heroes will certainly not go unnoticed. He's also bringing Karen Vaughn. Vaughn's son, a Navy Seal, was killed in Afghanistan. But, he has one more on his list. Not sparing any punches, Trump will be bringing Mark Geist, a survivor of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. 

Although there are four candidates running for the presidential office, only Clinton and Trump will be on the stage for the debates. Libertarian Party Gary Johnson and Green Party Jill Stein will not be able to participate in the debates. The reason? Neither one of them are high enough in the polls. The Commission on Public Debates, created in 1987 by both Republicans and Democrats, requires the candidate to average at least 15 percent in the polls in order to be able to participate. Johnson or Stein do not have the required 15 percent, despite Johnson being on the ballot in all 50 states and even having a higher percentage in the polls than Ross Perot when he was invited to debate in 1992. Johnson had 8.6 percent in the polls when the Commission denied his request to participate.

There are few certainties for the first debate, but there is one certainty that can be counted on by any viewer: no one knows what exactly will take place when the two take the stage and face off.

To join in the conversation about your thoughts on the debate, click here.

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