The second presidential debate took place on Sunday, Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. This debate came in the wake of a major controversy for the Trump campaign. It was a town hall styled debate, meaning a majority of the questions were handpicked from members of the audience who were still undecided.
Two days prior to the debate, The Washington Post released a video of Trump and media personality Billy Bush discussing women in a vulgar manner. Moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN was the first to address the Trump-Bush controversy, asking Trump, “You bragged that you sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
Trump responded by stating that it was “locker room talk,” followed by an apology to his family and the country.
The first audience question discussed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and making its coverage better. Clinton responded by listing reasons why Obamacare hasn’t worked, one being that coverage has gone down. Clinton then suggested to bring costs down and “keep quality up.”
Trump stood firm in his stance against Obamacare, saying it needs to be repealed and replaced with a new healthcare act.
The second question asked was: “How will you help [Muslims] deal with the consequences of being labeled a threat to the country after the election is over?”
Trump responded by stating that when Muslim-Americans see hatred occurring, they must report it. He suggested that communication between the government and the Muslim community would help in dealing with hatred towards Muslim Americans.
Clinton answered the question by saying she envisioned an America where “everyone has a place, if you’re willing to work hard, do your part and contribute to the community.” She stated that America is not at war with Islam.
The third audience question regarded ensuring wealthy Americans paid their “fair share of taxes.” Trump answered by saying he would get rid of carried interest. Clinton attacked Trump, stating that he hasn’t paid income taxes “in 20 years.”
Moderator Cooper asked Trump if he used a $916 million loss to avoid paying federal income tax, to which he did not clearly admit, but used to say “Hillary as a senator allowed it.”
A following audience question, delivered by the second moderator Martha Raddatz was: “If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?” Clinton stated that the president must stand up to Russia and investigate Russians involved in the bombing of Aleppo for war crimes.
Trump began by attacking Clinton’s foreign policy stances, saying, “Everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake.” He then stated that he didn’t like Assad, yet “Assad is killing ISIS.”
In response, Cooper mentioned that Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, made it clear in the vice presidential debate that “America should be prepared to use airstrikes on the Assad regime.” Trump countered by stating they haven’t spoken and that he disagrees.
The final audience question asked each candidate to state something they respect in one another. Clinton insisted on going first, and gave accolades to his children. She stated that his children are “incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”
Trump said, “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that.”
In the week following the debate, many more women accusing Trump of sexual assault and sexual rhetoric came forward. Also, religious leaders slammed the Clinton campaign over the comments revealed in the WikiLeaks email hack.
The final debate is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The debate will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.
Sunny Morgan is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at SM848270@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @SunnyMorgan97.