By: Julia Recine
The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has stirred up a whirlwind response since its coverage on Monday, September 26 at Hofstra University.
The debate’s moderator, MSNBC’s Lester Holt, specified the three main topics to be covered were: “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity,” and “Securing America.”
The debate began at 9 p.m. and, much to everyone’s surprise, the candidates remained composed and civil toward one another for the first 20 minutes.
“When the debate actually started it was dead silent,” said 21-year-old senior at Hofstra University, Emily Walsh.
Walsh was one of the few media majors selected to interact with the networks, see behind-the-scenes coverage, and watch the debate live from the audience. She added that “you could literally hear a pin drop, and then every journalist was typing away to fact check and such.”
The candidates became hostile with one another after Trump’s tax returns came into question, to which he fired back, “When she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted, as soon as she releases her 33,000 e-mails, I will release my tax returns.”
Topics regarding race issues in America, the Iraq War, and the economy were also touched upon. Trump was strong in his comments regarding international trade while Clinton found her footing in her plan to restore racial tension in America and keep cities safe.
“We have to restore trust between communities and the police,” said Clinton. “We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.”
However, many of these plans were overridden by personal insults and attacks from the candidates to one another.
“Overall, I’m upset at the total lack of civility,” said Fordham University student and political science major, John Fromer. “The debate had a bit of a sideshow feel to it, important issues weren’t discussed at length, and that can be blamed on the candidates finding ways to ignore questions, and on Holt for asking a number of shallow questions.”
Pundits found that the debate did not drastically affect either candidate’s supporters, and that many will stay loyal to their chosen party. This debate was a huge opportunity for the candidates to gain support of the undecided voters, which ultimately did not seem to be successful.
Clinton remained more composed than Trump, who became visibly agitated on a number of issues ranging from his “birther” comments, to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, and his “stop and frisk” ideas for law and order.
“It comes down to this—either you’re a person who values the experience and believes it’s crucial to do the job well, or you’re a person convinced we need a massively different style of leadership in the White House. And it seems people are pretty hardline on how they feel about it,” Fromer added.
The presidential candidates will go head-to-head for their third and final debate on Wednesday Oct. 19 at The University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV.