Jonathan Heisler/ FLICKR
Chock full of interruptions, fact-check-worthy sound bytes, laughter, verbal assaults and sniffles, the first 2016 presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump was precisely the show the public had been waiting for.
The debate, hosted by Hofstra University in New York and moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, was unlike any presidential debate before it. For the first time in our nation’s history, there was a woman standing behind one of the podiums on stage. Behind the other — Trump. Each candidate had ups and downs throughout the night.
Donald Trump said he won the debate.
“I won the debate if you decide without watching the totally one-sided ‘spin’ that followed. This despite the really bad microphone,” the Republican candidate tweeted.
Following the debate, Trump complained of a defective microphone, fueling his already robust narrative that the election could be “rigged” against him. On Sep. 30, the Commission of Presidential Debates said Trump’s microphone had audio issues during the debate.
Trump’s faulty microphone was not enough to silence his startling and blatantly untrue statements during the 90-minute debate. In examining his performance, one has to look no further than his responses to numerous accusations and questions from both Clinton and Holt.
When the question of Trump’s tax returns came up, Clinton suggested he might not have paid federal income tax.
“That makes me smart,” Trump responded.
On foreign policy, Trump said Clinton had been “fighting ISIS (her) entire adult life,” which is not true. U.S. intervention in the fight against ISIS did not begin until 2014.
Trump claimed he did not support the war in Iraq, a lie told so often it has been adamantly debunked by numerous publications. He accused Clinton of not having the “stamina” or “temperament” to be President. He also admitted to rooting for the housing crisis, a time when millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes.
“That’s called business,” Trump said.
Clinton had a better night. It was written all over her face, seen in her body language: from her smirks and laughter to her confident shimmy, and heard in her well-prepared answers throughout the debate. While her responses were not always perfect, Clinton used the facts in her favor, discussing her policy positions and highlighting issues that were important for both the debate and her campaign, including systemic racism, women’s issues and the war on terror.
Trump interrupted Clinton numerous times, including an exchange that spawned several memes. Trump leaned forward, interrupting Clinton with one word: “Wrong.”
Clinton continued, and twice more Trump interrupted her.
“Wrong,” he said each time.
Clinton was declared the winner in several polls. A Washington Post-ABC poll conducted after the debate found Clinton was seen as the winner by a 53 to 18 percent margin, 17 percent said it was a draw while the rest had no opinion.
In his own words, most of Trump said during and following the debate was flat out “wrong.” He followed his pattern of pathological lying in the days that followed by claiming he won the debate.
The first 2016 Presidential debate served as just another example of how Clinton trumps Trump.