With Donald Trump’s “lewd comments” coming in less than 48 hours before the debate, one would have thought that the so-called populist Republican candidate would have been more contrite. But that’s not Donald Trump’s style. In fact, he brought no less than three of Bill Clinton sexual assault accusers to the debate with him to sit with his second (or is it third?) family.
In what is being heralded as the most-watched and “explosive” debate so far, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the gloves off, didn’t directly answer questions, and tried to hammer in their talking points at every turn. You know, typical politician behavior.
Moderators Anderson Cooper and especially Martha Raddatz more effectively moderated, gently (or sometimes not so gently) bringing candidates back to the questions posed, and making sure that the candidates stayed under their allotted 2 minute time. Trump became petulant at times, saying that Raddatz was keeping him to his time but doing the same to Clinton (ostensibly because she was a woman).
Below—in no particular order—five moments that stood out for this writer (besides that fly that kept landing on Hillary Clinton).
(1) Decorum be damned. Everybody was apparently on a first name basis with the other.
Whereas in the Democratic primary debates where they kept it professional (Bernie Sanders referred to his opponent as “Secretary Clinton” and Clinton referred to the pol from Vermont as “Senator Sanders,”) in last night’s debate, Trump called Clinton “Hillary,” Clinton called Trump “Donald” and most gratingly, Trump continually called the president of these United States “Obama.” That’s President Obama to you, Donald.
(2) Trump kept his sniffing, pacing and lurking going throughout the evening.
Armchair (and addiction) diagnoses aside, Donald Trump is obviously a man who continuously moves. We’re not saying he has adult ADHD but we’re saying the man cannot be still. Besides Tweeting his rants and “deep thoughts” at 3, 4 and 5 in the morning, Donald Trump also cannot stand behind a podium for more than 30 seconds, either. What some viewers called his sinister lurking behind Clinton, this viewer saw a man who still has the energy of the four-year-old. And maybe the temperament of a four-year-old, too.
(3) Kenneth Bone
Comic relief flooded all through my social media timeline after a nice American man named Ken Bone asked a question on energy policies and keeping American jobs. Not only does his name have a slightly prurient quality, but his bright red sweater was just as compelling. Twitter had a field day with Bone. And it was a nice distraction from all that politico-babble, actually. Truth be told, Ken Bone was the real star of this debate.
(4) According to Donald Trump, all Black people live in the inner city.
When an African American man asked, not about Black people specifically, but just how the candidates planned to be a “devoted” president for all Americans, somehow Donald Trump went back to his whole, “African Americans and the terrible inner city” trope. First of all, the man who asked that question probably does not live in a city, but even if he did, to continually conflate African Americans with horrible, dangerous inner cities (where he is going to ostensibly bring “law and order” back) was straight disrespectful. Yes, we do have serious issues around employment, education, housing and safety—but so do most Americans (heroin epidemic, anyone?) To continually say that all black people are living in a Good Times set is straight ignorant.
(5) Abuela Hillary knows how to throw major shade.
I don’t know if she was expecting the question, or if she came up with her answer off the top, but Hillary Clinton’s answer to the last question of the night was kinda epic. A man asked each of the candidates to say one thing that they respected about the other. Although the moderator asked Trump to go first, he, of course, held back to see what Clinton said. She jumped right in and said, the “thing she respects about Donald Trump is his children.” Now that’s a good one! Even the Donald had to admit, “I don’t know if that was a real compliment.” It was good and shady. He actually gave “Crooked Hillary” real praise by saying she was a fighter.
What was up with all of the folks using disposable cameras from 1996 after the debate? I surmise that it was because folks were not allowed to bring their cell phones or cameras inside the debate forum. How retro!
Thank goodness we only have about 30 more days of this. My heart can’t take it. Read the entire debate transcript here.