Image courtesy of: The Daily Beast

By Julia Recine

On Wednesday Sept. 9 presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took to the stage for the Commander-in-Chief forum to answer questions regarding national security, military affairs, and the Veteran’s Alliance.

Moderated by NBC’s Matt Lauer on the retired battleship, the Intrepid located in New York, Hillary Clinton took to the stage first.

Lauer started by asking Clinton what qualifications she had that would make her an adequate Commander-in-Chief, only to be sidetracked almost immediately by questions regarding her recent email scandal.

Concerns over her judgment and her ability to keep classified military intelligence secret made Clinton visibly agitated.

“And for all the viewers watching here tonight, I have a lot of experience dealing with classified materials, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee, going into the four years as secretary of State. Classified material has a header which says, ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Confidential.’ Nothing — and I will repeat this, and this is verified in the reports by the Department of Justice — none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.”

On the topic of the chaos surrounding the Veterans Affairs (VA) and the poor healthcare veterans are known to receive, Clinton ensured weekly meetings with VA officials in the Oval Office if she were to be elected.

Clinton also stated her vote for the Iraq war was a mistake that lead to the destabilization the Middle East.

After the first 30 minutes, Republican nominee Donald Trump joined Lauer on the forum stage.

Lauer started with same question he asked Clinton about Trump’s qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief.

“Well I’ve built a great company, I’ve been all over the world, I’ve dealt with foreign countries, I’ve done tremendously well with China, and some of the countries that are just ripping us– taking advantage of us like never before,” said Trump.

Trump went on about his policy with dealing with Isis in response to an audience member’s question, “Part of the problem we have is, we go in and defeat somebody and then don’t know what we’re doing after and we lose it — look at Iraq and how badly that was handled.”

Trump’s self-advocated plan to defeat Isis remains unpredictable, as he reiterated that revealing his plan would mean revealing his strategy to the enemy. He only alluded to his tentative goal of convening top generals to work with him to create a substantial plan.

Trump’s comments about Russian leader Vladimir Putin were the brunt of much controversy. Trump stated he would have an excellent relationship with foreign leaders, including Putin.

“If he says great things about me, I’m gonna say great things about him. I’ve already said he is really very much of a leader. I mean, the man has very strong control over a country. And that’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” said Trump.

To conclude the forum, NBC ran a poll to determine whom the American people felt “won.” Trump came out on top with a 63 percent rating, compared to Clinton’s 37 percent rating.

The next time the candidates will go head to head will be on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island.