The third and final Presidential Debate was held on Wednesday, October 19 at the University of Nevada’s Thomas and Mack Center, with Candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) debating their plans on economics, immigration, and foreign policy.
The debate was moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, and followed a format of question-answers-open discussion.
The evening was characterized by pointed barbs, interruptions or Trump interjecting ‘wrong’s, as well as a rowdy audience that provided laughter at several points in the evening.
The debate opened with a question regarding the Supreme Court and constitutional interpretation.
“I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people. Not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy,” Clinton said in her opening statement. “That means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”
Trump repeated his intention to appoint pro-life and pro-second Amendment judges, citing his list of 20 candidates.
“The Supreme Court, it is what it is all about… It is just so imperative that we have the right justices…” Trump said in his opening statement. “We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the second amendment and all amendments, but the second amendment which is under absolute siege.”
Trump voiced his pro-life stance, stating that should Roe v. Wade be overturned, abortion laws would be left in the hands of the state. Clinton restated her pro-choice support.
The next topic was immigration. Trump restated his plan for closed borders by way of the ubiquitous wall and mass deportations. Clinton’s plan involves a ‘pathway to citizenship,’ allowing some undocumented immigrants to obtain US citizenship, as well as maintaining security without widespread deportation.
Trump accused Clinton of supporting open borders, which she claimed was a comment relating to energy trade.
The next question dealt with economic growth. Clinton supported more government spending, entitlements, and tax credits and penalties, emphasizing a ‘fair share’ approach. She also restated her plans for debt-free college for families making under $250,000 per year and gender-equal pay.
Clinton also claimed that her plan would “not add a penny to the national debt.”
Trump restated his strategy for cutting taxes and deregulation, as well as his support for renegotiating NAFTA, which he called “one of history’s worst trade deals.” Trump stated that his plan would bring jobs back to America from overseas.
Next was presidential fitness. Trump claimed that the sexual assault allegations against him were false, and that Obama and Clinton had paid protestors $1500 to disrupt his events. Clinton stated that his comments regarding the accusers were diminishing to women, including his statements that he couldn’t have assaulted them because he found them unattractive.
Clinton was asked about her foundation’s conflict of interest issues stemming from foreign donors. Clinton deflected, instead discussing the foundation’s beneficial work. Trump called the Clinton Foundation “criminal,” criticizing them for taking money from donors with human rights issues.
When asked whether he would respect the election results, Trump declined to answer. This went against his running mate Pence’s declaration that the campaign would accept the results.
“What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time,” Trump said. “I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?”
The next question dealt with Mosul and how the candidates would keep ISIS out, and whether they would use troops or not. Clinton spoke against using American troops as an occupying force, instead advocating an advisory role. Trump instead spoke on Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War, and stated his belief that she mishandled Mosul.
Clinton also supported an Aleppo no-fly zone and vetting refugees coming into America from the area.
The final subject regarded the national debt and services like Social Security and Medicare. Trump stated that his plan would lower debt by bringing jobs back through tax cuts. He also restated his intention to repeal Obamacare, saying that it was destroying small business.
Clinton stated her plans to lower prescription drug prices, invest in infrastructure and youth, and eliminate tax loopholes to ensure fair-share payment. She also supported entitlements reduction, and replenishing funds without cutting benefits.
The Russian hacks were also discussed, with Clinton claiming the Russian Kremlin was interfering to Trump’s benefit. Trump expressed doubt regarding Russia’s culpability, or that the hacks had happened at all. In response to Trump’s denial of any knowledge of Putin interfering, Clinton cited 17 intelligence agencies stating Russia’s involvement with the leak.
A more notable exchange was Trump interrupting Clinton with, “such a nasty woman,” in response to Clinton barbing him over tax dodging. The phrase rapidly achieved memetic status on Twitter, followed by Trump’s ‘Bad Hombres’ comment.
The candidates both ended with concluding statements, ostensibly unprepared.
“I will do everything that I can to make sure that you have good jobs with rising incomes, that your kids have good educations from preschool through college,” Clinton said in closing. “I hope you will give me a chance to serve as your president.”
“We are going to make America strong again and we are going to make America great again and it has to start now,” Trump said in conclusion. “We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama, and that’s what you get when you get her.”