First presidential debate recap


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On Sep. 26, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated at Hofstra University in New York City. NBC’s Lester Holt moderated the debate. Candidates opposed one another over racism, ISIS, cyber security and the best way to create jobs. They also questioned each other on many issues related to character.

Income and job growth

“We have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” Clinton said. “That means we need new jobs, good jobs with rising incomes.”

Clinton said that she plans to provide paid family leave, earned sick days, affordable childcare and debt-free college by having the wealthy pay a larger share of taxes. She also said a fairer economy starts with raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing equal pay for women. She called Trump’s economic plan “trumped-up, trickle-down,” saying that the 2008 financial crisis was partially a result of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Trump said to improve the economy America needs to stop jobs from leaving the U.S. He said that his economic plan to cut taxes from 35 percent to 15 percent for both small and big companies will create jobs.

“Companies will come, they will build, they will expand. New companies will start,” he said.

Trump criticized Clinton for her handling of economic issues, saying that she’s had thirty years to work on solutions, but she’s only just starting to think about them now.


Clinton and Trump both agreed gun violence needs to end.

“Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? We have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order,” Trump said.

“We have to restore trust,” Clinton said. “We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them and we have to tackle the plague of gun violence.”


Both candidates said they were going to defeat ISIS.

“We have to intensify our airstrikes against ISIS and eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Rocca,” Clinton said.

Trump criticized Obama and Clinton for the way they pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq.

“[Clinton]’s been trying to take them out for a long time, but [ISIS] wouldn’t have formed if they left some troops behind,” he said.

Clinton countered this by saying that Trump had supported the Iraq invasion.

Trump denied the claim. He said that when asked by Howard Stern whether he favored the war in Iraq, he “said lightly, I don’t know. Maybe. Who knows?” and that other articles and interviews following the Stern interview show he was against the war.

Cyber security

“We should be better than anyone else [with cyber security], and perhaps we’re not,” Trump said.

Trump said that the U.S. has lost control over the internet and that Clinton was wrong to assert Russia had hacked into the Democratic National Convention.

Clinton said, “I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable.”

Character issues

Holt asked Trump about his tax returns, saying that Americans have a right to know if Trump has any conflicts of interest. According to CNN, every presidential candidate in the past 40 years has made their tax returns available to the public. Trump said that he did not mind releasing his tax returns and that he would release them when the audit concludes.

Trump questioned Clinton on the deleted emails found on Clinton’s private email server by the F.B.I. during investigation of Clinton’s management of classified information. Trump said that when Clinton released her emails he would release his tax returns. Clinton said that the emails were a mistake that she takes responsibility for, while Trump said that her actions were purposeful.

Clinton criticized Trump for what he has said about women. Trump criticized Clinton for her negative ad campaigns against him, claiming that many of them are untrue.

Each candidate said the other did not have the temperament to be president.

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