St. Louis (US): Republican Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton sparred over a number of issues including the billionaire’s lewd comments about women and the former State Department Secretary’s deleted emails, in the second presidential debate here on Sunday night.
The two presidential nominees accused each other with Clinton saying Trump was “not fit to be the President”, while the billionaire taking on her over the whole birther claim against President Barack Obama, saying: “You owe Obama an apology.”
Beginning the debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked about the 2005 video in which Trump made lewd comments about women, saying: “You bragged that you sexually assaulted women — do you understand that?”
Responding to Cooper, Trump said: “No that’s not what I said. This was locker room talk… I am not proud of it but this is locker room talk.”
He then pivoted to terrorism and “bad things happening” in the world.
Taking on Trump over the issue of lewd comments, Clinton said: “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw.”
Clinton said though she had differences on policies and principles with the Republican candidates in the past but for Trump, she said: “…he was not fit to be president and commander in chief.”
“I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it (video) that it represents exactly who he is. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to 10… it’s not only women, it’s not only this video… This is who Donald Trump is,” she added.
Trump then accused former President and the Democrat’s husband Bill Clinton of doing much worse than talking about sexual assault.
Clinton quoted US first lady Michelle Obama saying: “When they go low, we go high.”
Trump then targeted Clinton on the email issue and said: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (email) situation… you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” he said.
Clinton responded: “Everything he just said is absolutely false and I am not surprised.”
There was also a moment in the debate when Trump insisted Clinton to answer the question about healthcare first, after nearly jumping in to answer despite it not being his turn. “Go ahead, I’m a gentleman,” he quipped.
Clinton called reining in the cost of the Affordable Care Act the highest priority of the next president. She “agrees” that premiums have gotten too high.
Clinton added she wants to save what works with Obamacare but warned repealing it wholesale would lose all those benefits that came with the new healthcare system.
“Obamacare will never work. It’s very bad health insurance,” Trump said, insisting that it is too expensive.
Trump claimed Clinton “acid washed” 33,000 personal emails to delete them, something he said was an “expensive process”.
When asked by a woman in crowd about Muslims in the US being targeted and facing hate crime, Trump said: “Muslims have to report it when they see hate going on. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.”
Trump also spoke about the parents of the dead and the Gold Star Iraq war soldier. “Captain Khan is an American hero… if I were president at the time he’d be alive today,” he said.
“I would not have had our people in Iraq, Iraq was a disaster.”
On his proposed Muslim ban, Trump said: “This is the greatest Trojan horse of our time. I don’t want to have hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about their values, nothing about their love for our country.”