On Sunday evening, presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump took the Washington University stage in St. Louis, Missouri, to partake in the second of the three debates preceding the Nov. 8 election.
Both candidates exchanged criticisms about each other’s policies and their recent campaigns.
Clinton pressed the issue of what she called the “Trump Effect,” or the negative rhetoric of Trump’s campaign, which has concerned some educators who argue that Trump’s rhetoric has raised anxiety among children of color.
“It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inﬂaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom,” Clinton said. “Many students worry about being deported … Other students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.”
Trump defended his tax dealings and denied any financial deals with Russia.
“I know nothing about Russia,” Trump said. “I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Putin so we could fight ISIS together.”
Cooperating with Russia to fight ISIS has been one of Trump’s longstanding positions.
In response to Clinton, Trump also said he had no investments in Russia and no loans from Russia.
Trump questioned Clinton’s character and said Clinton “should be ashamed of herself,” for remaining married to former President Bill Clinton, whom he directed sexual assault rhetoric toward.
This followed a conference Trump held Sunday in which he was accompanied by women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Trump brought three of the women to the debate audience.
Clinton responded by referencing first lady Michelle Obama, whom she quoted “When they go low, we go high,” in a statement ending the segment.
The debate takes place following a rampant last 72 hours of the presidential race. On Friday, audio footage of Trump from 2005 surfaced in which he spoke of sexual interactions with married women, as well as grabbing female genitals without consent.
Debate moderator Anderson Cooper directly called Trump’s actions spoken of in the recording “sexual assault.”
“It was locker room talk,” Trump said of his 2005 statements. “I’m not proud of it.”
Trump gave no formal apology for the comments.
K-State watch party
Reaction to the debate was mixed. Some Kansas State students felt that questions were answered in a disorganized order.
Timothy Shaffer, assistant professor of communication studies, held a campus debate watch party and said he thought the candidates’ policies would come off as unclear to undecided voters.
“The arguments presented probably won’t bring a lot of clarity to the questions of undecided voters,” Shaffer said. “Secretary Clinton carried herself in a more productive way. There was a more reactionary tone from Mr. Trump. There were even instances where Secretary Clinton walked to audience members to respond to their questions and Mr. Trump kind of loomed behind her. Some of it was just camera angles, but given the conversation of the last few days, it was a very striking image.”
During a Q&A period following the watch party, one student said she thought the moderators should have turned off the candidates’ microphones when they talked over each other.
“I wanted to hide inside of my own shirt during parts of it, mainly when Trump would argue with the moderators,” a student said. “I couldn’t believe how many times he spoke over Hillary Clinton during her turns. There was a lot of talking over each other, and I think that the moderators should consider turning off microphones.”
Hector Ochoa, junior in communication studies, said he also found the debate’s moderation to be problematic.
“It was really frustrating at points,” Ochoa said. “It was a lot of he-said/she-said instead of directly answering the questions that were presented. I expected (Clinton) to win because of the recent bomb that was dropped on the Trump campaign, but he still came in prepared with some comebacks that changed the direction of the conversation, sometimes in his favor. I wouldn’t say there was a clear winner tonight.”
In the national polls, Clinton’s lead has consistently climbed since the first debate. The New York Times reported that based on national polling averages, Clinton leads Trump by a margin of 4 percentage points.
The debate ended in an audience question that asked Clinton and Trump to name something each respected about the other candidate.
“I respect his children,” Clinton said. “His children are incredibly able and that says a lot about (Trump).”
Trump responded to the final question by saying that although he didn’t agree with Clinton’s judgment, he respected her perseverance.
“(Clinton) does not give up,” Trump said. “She’s a fighter and I respect that.”
The debate will be followed by the final of the three presidential debates, held on Oct. 19.