On the offensive all night, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump had Democratic rival Hillary Clinton backpedaling during Sunday night’s second presidential debate – on a night many expected the billionaire to self-destruct in the wake of a 2005 tape revealing his sexually lewd comments.
Instead of being on the defensive, Trump took charge all night, attacking Clinton’s husband, honesty, character and inability to get the job done while in office.
Lesser of two evils …
Trump started things off by apologizing for his crass rhetoric, saying that it was just guy talk taking place in a private conversation that was recorded with a hot mic.
“I’m very embarrassed by it,” Trump asserted. “I hate it – but it’s locker-room talk. I have great respect for women.”
He then pointed the discussion in the direction of the former secretary of state’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, insisting that his own mere talk paled in comparison to Bill’s record of sexual abuse and rape of numerous female victims.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse – mine are words,” the Republican White House hopeful impressed. “His was action. Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”
He also mentioned how Clinton destroyed the life of a 12-year-old girl who was raped, saying she boasted about manipulating the facts in her defense of the rapist. Trump mentioned how Clinton was caught on record laughing when she described how she got away with lying – which ultimately resulted in her client receiving a reduced charge.
Pre-debate press conference sets tone
Before the debate, a press conference set up by Trump was held with a number of Bill Clinton’s accusers, including Paula Jones, who received a judgment of $850,000 in a sexual harassment suit against the former president in 1991. Former White House aide Kathleen Willey, who accused the then-president of groping her in 1993 was also there, along with Juanita Broaddrick, who says Clinton raped her in 1978 – a claim he denied.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Broaddrick contended. “Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”
In response to the press conference, Clinton’s campaign said it was merely a “stunt,” calling it a “destructive race to the bottom.”
In an attempt to highlight the audio tapes, Clinton said they reflect his true character.
“He has said the video doesn’t represent who he is, but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is,” the former first lady argued. “We have seen this throughout the campaign, [where he has made] negative comments toward not just women, but Muslims and Latinos and others. Yes, this is who Donald Trump is.”
Of emails and foreign policy
The 70-year-old candidate then wasted little time before continuing his dominating form to turn things around. He attempted to put to rest all of the rumors about the Republican Party collapsing under the weight of the tape, starting out by pointing to Clinton’s repeated lies concerning her private email scandal, saying that he would work to bring her to justice and put her in jail once elected president.
“She should be ashamed of herself,” Trump insisted. “You said it was fine to delete 33,000 emails. I don’t think so … If elected,] I will request for a special prosecutor to look into your situation. You said it was fine to delete 33,000 emails. I don’t think so.”
Similar to most of her responses to Trump’s accusations, Clinton discounted his allegations as “absolutely false” before saying that she was glad someone like Trump is not in charge of the law.
Trump retorted within a split second.
“Because you’d be in jail,” he followed up—a remark that resulted in applause and laughter from the St. Louis crowd at Washington University.
Noticeably stirred and backpedaling, Clinton tried to refocus the debate on the crude tapes recorded by former Access Hollywood Host Billy Bush.
“I know you’re into big diversion tonight – anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding, the way Republicans are leaving you,” the scandal-plagued candidate chimed back.
Maneuvering on an unleveled playing field
After Clinton was allowed extra minutes to comment while Trump was cut off for exceeding his time limit by seconds, Trump contended that CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz were turning the debate into a “three-on-one.” He was also alluding to the loaded questions he was receiving and the back-and-forth the moderators were having with Trump – as if they were standing in for Clinton to debate Trump themselves.
Taking the aggressive route again, Trump – after masterfully answering Clinton’s attempted attacks on taxes – called Obamacare a disaster and said it was so riddled with problems that it has to be repealed altogether. He backed up his assertion by pointing out that Bill and Chelsea Clinton both conceded last week that Obamacare basically did not work.
Trump then took the opportunity to bring up Clinton’s assertion that half of his supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables,” represented by bigots, racists, homophobes, etc.
Hillary was quick to shoot back with her own defense.
“Within hours, I said I was sorry about the way I talked about that, because my problem is not with his supporters, it’s with him,” Clinton qualified herself.
Trump pressed on further by calling her time as secretary of state under President Barack Obama’s first term an utter failure, pointing out how both she and the president still refuse to identify the enemy as radical Islamic terrorists.
“She talks tough, she talks really tough,” Trump told the Missouri audience. “She talks about the rebels, [but] she doesn’t even know who the rebels are. The fact is almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and a disaster.”
He went on to blame Clinton and Obama for prematurely pulling troops out of Iraq to give ISIS terrorists a foothold to spread over dozens of nations globally.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commended Trump in his rebound performance, calling Trump’s decisive debate victory over Clinton the most lopsided presidential debate to ever take place.
I may have made a mistake in writing off Trump.
After talking with voters tonight, he's back in this race. #Debate2016 pic.twitter.com/XP1fyBTNwt
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 10, 2016
Many critics believe that Trump pulled off a miraculous performance over Clinton Monday night — one that will repair much of the damage caused to his campaign over the last couple of days over the leaked tapes.
Trump’s running mate Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) commended Trump for decisively assailing Clinton in the second debate and said that he is proud to be part of Trump’s winning team.
Congrats to my running mate @realDonaldTrump on a big debate win! Proud to stand with you as we #MAGA.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 10, 2016
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.