The Everygirl’s Debate Recap: What You Should Know About Trump and Clinton’s First Face-off

  • Copy by: Daryl Lindsey
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Who needs another cocktail after watching last night’s debate?

Hillary Clinton joined Donald Trump on the debate stage for the first time Monday night—and it was not a quiet affair. The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, came with its fair share of personal jabs, crosstalk, and yelling.

If you didn’t have the chance to tune in, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know:

NBC “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt moderated the event with a hands-off approach, leaving most of the talking to the candidates. (His silence didn’t go unnoticed by the internet, prompting the hashtag #WhereIsLester.) Holt broke the debate down into 15-minute segments, offering candidates two minutes each to answer.

1. Jobs and the Economy

Holt asked each candidate to argue why they would be the better choice to create American Jobs.

Clinton began by saying the government needed to “invest in the middle class.” According to Clinton, this means investing in blue-collar infrastructure and manufacturing jobs, raising the minimum wage, providing debt-free college education, and paid family leave.

Trump cited his tax plan, which he called “the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan,” as the primary bringer of American jobs. He says he wants to bring down taxes on businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent.

2. Taxes

Clinton wants taxes for the rich to go up. Trump wants to bring them down. Holt asked both candidates to defend his/her position.

Trump spoke further on his tax plan, claiming his tax cut will allow the wealthy to expand their companies and “create tremendous jobs.” Clinton fired back, calling Trump’s tax plan an “extreme version” of trickle-down economics, which she says doesn’t work. (She then used the phrase “Trumped-up trickle-down” two times, and the internet had mixed feelings about the pun.)

Things got pretty heated during this segment. Clinton went after Trump for his tax returns and Trump went after Clinton’s deleted emails. At one point, Clinton accused Trump of rooting for the 2008 housing crisis so he could “make some money,” to which Trump replied, “That’s called business, by the way.”

3. Race

Holt asked the candidates how they plan to “bridge a wide and bitter gap” when it comes to racial tensions in America.

Clinton said the answer lies in fostering trust between police and communities, implementing criminal justice reform, and “tackling gun violence.” Then Trump took his turn, entering into one of the more controversial (and talked about) exchanges of the night.

Trump advocated the use of stop-and-frisk tactics in Chicago and other crime-ridden cities around the nation, claiming New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy worked very well and “brought the crime rate way down.” At the end of his two minutes, Holt interjected to say that stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York as a form of racial profiling, to which Trump replied “No. You’re wrong.” (U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional in 2013)

4. Cyber-security

Holt asked Trump and Clinton who they believed to be America’s greatest cyber threats.

Clinton cited Russia as “the most recent and troubling” of security threats against the U.S., taking a jab at Donald Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This question also brought about one of Trump’s more memorable lines of the night: “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

5. Nuclear Weapons

The U.S. currently has a policy in place allowing first-use of nuclear weapons. According to Holt, President Obama considered changing this to a “no-first-use policy,” meaning the U.S. could only use nukes if an enemy used them first. Holt asked the candidates if they agreed.

Trump said “I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of [nuclear weapons],” but then followed up to say America “has to be prepared” and “can’t take anything off the table.”

Clinton focused on the U.S.’s relationship with its allies: “I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them,” she said. “It is essential that America’s word be good.”

Want more about the debate? 

You can watch the full debate online here. If reading is more your style, The Washington Post has a full transcript of the debate (annotated and fact-checked by WaPo reporters).

What was your favorite moment from the debate? Start a discussion in the comments!