back to top
Politics

Lies, ISIS, Nukes, And Sniffles: Your Guide To Last Night's Presidential Debate

Reporting by Tasneem Nashrulla in New York; Tarini Parti, Paul McLeod, and Emma Loop in Washington, DC; and Rosie Gray, Ruby Cramer, McKay Coppins, Darren Sands, Kyle Blaine, and Adrian Carrasquillo in Hempstead, New York.

Posted on

* Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a sharp first presidential debate on Monday night — they battled fiercely over race and policing in the US, over Trump's unreleased taxes, and over trade. Here's the takeaway: Clinton took charge while Trump was winging it.

* Trump told several whoppers. He said Clinton has been fighting ISIS her "entire adult life" — which is impossible — repeated the lie that he was against the Iraq War, and lied about denying climate change.

* The tone and body language of each candidate was fiery. Trump repeatedly interrupted Clinton, while she appeared incredulous at times.

* Moderator Lester Holt was being closely watched — Would he call candidates out on lies? How forceful would he be? In the first half he mostly let them have at it — later on he called Trump out on Iraq and taxes. (Take our "Where Is Lester Holt?" quiz here.)

* BuzzFeed News live-captioned the debate with emojis, then did a Facebook Live wrap of the best memes.

* SniffleGate. Trump kept making nasal-y noises to the point where Howard Dean asked if he was on blow — Trump later shot back that the microphone was "defective."

* Overall, there was a LOT to take in: a reporter yelled "thanks a lot, bitch" before the event and became internet famous; people braced themselves for the segment on race in America; and, well, there were lots of memes.

OK, first things first. If you missed the debate and want to see the whole thing, you can watch it here — captioned with emojis!

Facebook: video.php

We're just emoji-ing what you're thinking.

Advertisement

A major heated moment came over a long discussion about race and policing in America — especially over stop-and-frisk.

Trump suggested that stop-and-frisk should be implemented in cities like Chicago to bring down the crime rate. He said that it “worked very well in New York” when former Mayor Rudy Guiliani implemented it.

“We have gangs roaming in the streets, in many cases they’re illegal immigrants who have guns and they shoot people,” Trump said. “We have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.”

When Holt pointed out that stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York because it “largely singled out black and Hispanic young men,” Trump told him, “You’re wrong.”

He said that the issue went before a judge “who was a very against-police judge” and the case was “taken away from her.” When Holt said stop-and-frisk was viewed as a form of racial profiling, Trump said that guns needed to be taken away from “bad people that shouldn’t have them.”

“You have to have stop-and-frisk,” he said.

Clinton said that it was “unfortunate” that Trump painted “such a dire, negative picture of black communities” in the country. She said that there were “right ways” of protecting communities and there were “ineffective ways.”

“Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional,” Clinton said. “And in part, because it was ineffective.”

She also addressed the “systemic racism” in the country’s criminal justice system and said “the gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African-American men.” She spoke of the need for “common-sense gun safety measures.”

Here's the full quote:

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it's just a fact that if you're a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we've got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

Another sharp exchange came over international trade — a big issue for Trump and his supporters. Clinton concluded saying he was living in his "own reality."

Trump called the North American Free Trade Agreement the “worst trade deal ever signed anywhere.”

“Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened,” Trump said to Clinton.

“That is your opinion,” she retorted.

Trump also confronted Clinton about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton called the “gold standard” before announcing her candidacy, but came out against it during the primary.

“You were totally in favor of it then you heard what I was saying about how bad it is and you said, ‘I can’t win that debate,’” Trump told Clinton. She responded saying that she was against it once it “was finally negotiated.”

Trump said that Clinton called it the “gold standard of deals” and “one of the finest deals.”

“Then you heard what I said about it, all of a sudden you were against it,” he said.

“Donald, I know you live in your own reality but those are not the facts,” Clinton said.

Fact-Check Corner: Here are three Trump lies.

1. Clinton has been fighting ISIS her "entire adult life."

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

This is is literally impossible since the group only came into existence after the invasion of Iraq. Read more here.

This also prompted Clinton to say: “Join the debate by saying more crazy things.”

Advertisement

2. Trump says he never said global warming was a hoax.

Facebook: video.php

3. Trump said he opposed the Iraq War.

w.soundcloud.com

BuzzFeed News first reported this was false in February. Read more about tonight's debate here, where Trump said, “I was against the war...I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.”

Trump gave a really confounding and bizarre answer about nukes, Iran, and North Korea.

Holt asked Trump the following question: “On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?”

Find out what happened next here.

Advertisement

Trump defended his history of claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States.

“When I got involved, I didn’t fail,” he said. “I got him to give the birth certificate. So I’m satisfied.”

When pressed by Holt on why he continued to push the birther issue after the certificate had been released, Trump said: “Nobody was pressing it. Nobody was caring much about it, but I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job.”

Trump also insisted that Hillary Clinton’s aides pushed the birther issue even though “everyone in mainstream is going to say it's not true.”

Asked what he wanted to say to Americans on the issue during a segment about racial healing, Trump replied: “I say nothing…I think I developed very good relationships with the African-American community, and I think they wanted me to come to that conclusion.”

Clinton responded to Trump’s exchange with Holt by saying: “Well, just listen to what you heard.”

“He tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed,” she continued. “But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has a really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president wasn’t an American citizen.

“But remember Donald started his career back in 1973, when he was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination when he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans… He actually was sued twice, so he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one.

“Barack Obama is a man of great dignity and I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.”

Trump then accused Clinton of treating Obama with “terrible disrespect” during the 2008 Democratic primary debates.

“You were after him…when you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work,” he said.

Here is a supercut of Snifflegate, which Trump blamed on a faulty microphone.

Facebook: video.php

Speaking to reporters in the spin room after the debate, Trump complained that his microphone was defective and questioned whether it was intentional.

Viewers had joked about what sounded like sniffles coming from Trump at the beginning of the event. He didn’t address what that sound may have been, but he told reporters that debate organizers gave him a defective mic.

“They also gave me a defective mic, did you notice that? My mic was defective in the room,” Trump said.

“I wonder, was that on purpose? Was that on purpose?” he added. “But I had a mic that wasn’t working properly.”

And here was perhaps Trump's strongest moment of the night, during a discussion on ISIS. Here's the transcript:

Lester Holt said, "You mention ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil, the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I'll ask this to both of you. Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens, Mr. Trump?"

After much back and forth, Trump launched into this:

The secretary said very strongly about working with — we've been working with them for many years, and we have the greatest mess anyone's ever seen. You look at the Middle East, it's a total mess. Under your direction, to a large extent.

But you look at the Middle East, you started the Iran deal, that's another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they're going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they're going.

...

I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations, and we have to knock the hell out of ISIS, and we have to do it fast, when ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton. And believe me, you were the ones that took out the troops. Not only that, you named the day. They couldn't believe it. They sat back probably and said, 'I can't believe it.'

Clinton called out Trump for calling women “pigs, slobs, and dogs." Here's the clip:

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

But in his second-to-last question of the night, Lester Holt asked Donald Trump about his comments that Clinton “doesn’t have a presidential look.”

“She doesn’t have the look,” Trump responded. “She doesn’t have the stamina. I said that she doesn’t have the stamina and I don’t believe she has the stamina.”

Clinton was ready for the question. “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities and nations around the world — or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee — he can talk to me about stamina,” she said.

Here's the full "stamina" exchange:

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

Read more here.

And here's a bunch of times Trump interrupted Clinton:

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

If this were a drinking game, we'd all be DEAD.

Contact BuzzFeed News at maggie.schultz+news@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.