With less than three weeks to Election Day, Hillary and Trump debated for the last time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was the last chance for them to make an impression on voters.
This final debate was moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News, the first time an anchor from the network had been chosen to oversee a general election debate.
- Supreme Court: Clinton says she want’s to see a Supreme Court that works for the whole country – and would maintain Roe vs Wade (abortion rights) and strike down Citizens United (corporate money in campaign finance).
Donald Trump on the other hand wants to appoint a new Justice who would “have a conservative bent” and would protect the second amendment (gun rights) – and would interpret the constitution in “the way the founders intended it.”
- Gun Control: Hillary Clinton says she supports the second amendment, and understands and respects the tradition of gun ownership. “We have 33,000 people a year who die from guns”, she says and sensible reforms to background checks and “gun show” loopholes are completely compatible with the second amendment.The Donald says people who “believe in the second amendment” are pretty upset about what Hillary Clinton has to say about the second amendment. He explains that in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws of any state, it has one of the highest gun crime rates in the country. He says he’s proud to have the endorsement of the NRA, and he plans to appoint justices who feel very strongly about the second amendment and will support it.
- Clash over Abortion: Clinton says many states are putting many draconian regulations in place to make it harder for women to “make their own healthcare decisions.” She says she’d defend Planned Parenthood, which Donald Trump said he would defund entirely.On so-called ‘partial birth abortion’ Clinton says the kinds of abortions that occur late in a pregnancy are often some of the most heartbreaking problems – and the life and health of the mother have to be taken into account. Trump says it’s terrible that in the ninth month of a pregnancy you can “take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb. You may think that’s OK, but it’s not OK with me…it’s not acceptable.”
- On Immigration: Trump touted the necessity of the wall he wants built on the Mexican border not only to keep out illegal immigrants, but also illegal drugs. “Drugs are pouring in through the border. We have no country if we have no border,” said Trump, claiming “drug lords” have been operating inside the United States. “We have some bad, bad people in this country,” he said. “We have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out.” Clinton says when Trump went to Mexico to meet the government there, he didn’t even mention the wall. She says she voted for increased border security and in certain places increased technology and barriers. Clinton denies she wants “open borders.She turns to the WikiLeaks revelations, which brought her speech into the public eye. She says Russia is engaged in espionage, which goes all the way up to Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to affect the election.
Trump says it was a “nice pivot” from open borders – but he adds “I don’t know Putin – he’s said nice things about me, but I don’t know Putin.”
He says “From what I’ve seen, Putin has no respect for this person [Clinton]”
Clinton fires back “That’s because he’d rather have a puppet.”
“No puppet, no puppet,” insists Donald. “You’re the puppet.”
- Economic plans: Clinton says when the middle class thrives, America thrives. She wants the biggest jobs programme since WWII, and thinks we can compete with high wage countries. She wants to raise the minimum wage, and wants women to get equal pay for the work they do. She wants to improve education and make college debt free. And she says most of the gains in the last recession went to the very top – and the very wealthy should make a greater contribution. She says her plan would create 10m new jobs.
Donald Trump says Clinton’s plan would “double your taxes”. And for some reason he pivots back to the previous question – talking about Nato and whether our allies in Asia and the Middle East “pay up”. He says under Obama’s regime the national debt has spiralled out of control. “We’re going to have free trade.” he says, three times. He says he’d “terminate” the NAFTA free trade deal and put his own deal in place. He says we need to get the engine going again.
- Trade: Wallace says even Conservative commentators say Donald Trump’s numbers don’t add up and his growth numbers are “unrealistic.” He says India is growing at 8%, China is growing at 7%, and that’s a low number for them. He notes a recent jobs report which is so anaemic, he thinks he should be easily elected president.He blames the NAFTA agreement for the decline of manufacturing in the US – and says she now wants to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership, which he says Clinton denied having called the “gold standard” – but he insists she did. “They actually fact checked and they said I was right. I was so honoured.”
Clinton says the TPP does not pass her test – and there’s only one person on this stage that’s outsourced jobs to Mexico, and that’s Donald.
Donald says if she wanted to put regulations on businessmen to stop them doing shady things, she should have done it in the years she spent in congress. And he claims $6billion was “stolen or something” from the State Department under her leadership. Clinton says this is false, and has been debunked.
Clinton says when she was in the Sit Room watching Bin Laden being taken out, he was running beauty pageants and fronting the Celebrity Apprentice. Trump says he’s built a good company, and if we ran the country like he ran his company we’d be in a better position.
- Women: Donald Trump says not only have most of the sexual assault claims against him been debunked – he claims the Clinton campaign paid people £1,500 a night to deliberately cause violent riots at Trump riots. And he says some of the women wanted their “5 minutes of fame” by making allegations about him.Clinton says Donald had hit back at some of the allegations by claiming he wouldn’t have assaulted the women concerned because they weren’t attractive enough.
Donald insists “nobody has more respect for women than I do – and those stories have mostly been debunked.” He says all the reports are fiction – probably invented by “her and her sleazy campaign” – but what isn’t fiction is “her emails.” Clinton says Trump always avoids these questions because they’re uncomfortable for him – but it’s not just about women. He’s gone after disabled journalists, John McCain and others. It’s a dark pattern of divisiveness, she says, and he encourages violence at his rallies.
- Clinton Foundation: Clinton says she’s thrilled to talk about her “world renowned charity” – which made it possible for 11 million HIV sufferers to get treatment. But there’s no evidence, she says, of “pay for play” corruption within the group.Trump says “Saudi Arabia and Qatar” are countries that “push gays off buildings” – and she should give back the money her foundation has taken from those countries.
Clinton says her foundation has the highest rating from groups who monitor charities – and the Trump foundation spent thousands on a six-foot portrait of Donald Trump. “I mean, who does that?”
Trump says 100% of the money for his foundation goes to good causes.
Clinton says, there’s no way of knowing any of this because Trump won’t release his tax returns. She says we know he hasn’t paid any federal income tax. Even undocumented immigrants pay more income tax than a billionaire.
Trump says “if you don’t like what I did, you should have changed the laws.
- Election Results: Wallace brought up Trump’s alarmist cries about a rigged election. As Wallace noted, Trump’s campaign manager, running mate, and daughter have all publicly vowed to respect the poll outcomes. Trump only offered a hedge, saying, “I will tell you at the time, but I will keep you in suspense.” Clinton responded, “This is horrifying. … Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. … He is taking down our democracy.”
- ISIS: Hillary Clinton says she’s encouraged that there’s an effort from the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces – but she won’t support putting US soldiers in Iraq as an occupying force. She says she’ll continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens in Syria to protect civilians and gain some leverage on Syria.Trump says “Mosul is so sad. We had Mosul.” But when we moved out, they moved back in. He complains that he read in the papers that the US was going to go for the leaders of ISIS – “What happened to the element of surprise?”
He says General Douglas MacArthur is spinning in his grave. He goes on to say the Iran nuclear deal was the stupidest deal of all time, and will result in Iran getting nuclear weapons. He says the US shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but once we were there, we shouldn’t have left – and the big winner will be Iran.
- About GDP: Trump says he’s not ignoring GDP growth – insisting he’s going to create loads of jobs and a tremendous economic machine, which would bring growth up from 1% to at least 5%. He says America has the greatest business people in the world and we don’t use them to negotiate our deals – we use “political hacks” instead.Clinton says she will ask the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share, and there’s no evidence this will slow down or diminish US growth. We’ve got to get back to investing in the middle class because that’s the best way to grow the economy and make it fairer.
- Benefits: Asked if he’d make any cuts to state benefits such as medicare and social security, Trump instead chooses to talk about “repealing and replacing” Obamacare, which isn’t a state benefit at all.Clinton says we need to put more money in the social security trust fund, which is part of her policy of raising taxes for the wealthy. But she says she will “not cut benefits – I want to enhance benefits.”
She says Obamacare put more money into the medicare trust fund, effectively rescuing it from bankruptcy.
- Closing Statement: Clinton says her mission will be to stand up for families against powerful interests and corporations, and ensure families get access to the education they deserve.Donald goes back to basics – Make America Great Again. He says the US needs to invest in the military and improve law enforcement.
“We will make America strong again and we will make America great again. We can’t afford four more years of Obama and that’s what you’ll get with her.”