Trump Comes Out Swinging in Second Debate

Washington,-After his poor performance in their first presidential debate, Donald Trump came out swinging in the rematch on Monday, blasting Hillary Clinton on her use of a private email server, the Iran nuclear deal, her position on Syria and her economic policies.

Clinton, who was on the defensive for most of the night, attacked Trump on taxes, his treatment of women and his policies on Russia and Syria. The town hall style debate at a Missouri university allowed Trump to move aggressively around the stage as he hurled invectives at his opponent.

Trump said that he disagreed with his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, who in the vice presidential debate last week said he favored US military action against the Syrian government. “I don’t like Assad at all but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy”.

Trump said the priority should be defeating ISIS before dealing with the Assad government. “I believe we have to get ISIS,” he said. “We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved”.

Clinton blamed Russian aggression for destroying Aleppo, though only east Aleppo is under attack. She again called for arming rebels and setting up a safe zone inside Syria and a no-fly zone above, a move that the U.S. chairman of the joint military chiefs of staff told Congress two weeks ago would lead to war with Russia. “She talks in favor of the rebels,” Trump said. “She doesn’t even know who they are. Every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people, and you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people” the U.S. overthrows.

“Look what she did in Libya with Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s out. It’s a mess,” he said. “The fact is almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and it’s been a disaster”.

Clinton again attacked Trump for his support of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. She said U.S. intelligence has concluded, without making the evidence public, that Russia had hacked into U.S. election and Democratic Party computers “to influence our election”. “And believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected, they’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump,” she charged. “Now, maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons”.

Trump has called for dialogue with Russia as opposed to Clinton’s harsh stance against Moscow, including calling Putin “Hitler”. Trump denied he had any outstanding loans with Russia or any business interests there. “She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump responded. “But they always blame Russia and the reason is because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia”.

Trump then attacked Clinton for concluding the nuclear accord with Iran last year. The negotiations began while she was secretary of state, an achievement Clinton touts.

He called it “the dumbest deal I’ve ever seen with the $1.7 billion in cash, which is enough to fill up this room.” He said the nuclear agreement had turned Iran, “the number one terrorist state” from a “weak country” to a strong one.

Trump also blasted Clinton for deleting 33,000 emails from her private server and for claiming not to know that many of them were classified and vulnerable to hacking. He said that if he becomes president he would get a special prosecutor to investigate her use of the email. The Obama Justice Department has already cleared her of all wrongdoing. At one point he quipped that she would be “in jail”.

The two clashed on economic policy, with Clinton criticizing Trump’s plan to lower taxes on corporations and the rich, while Trump said Clinton would raise taxes on the middle class and workers.

The debate began with a question about a video tape disclosed on Friday in which Trump makes several obscene remarks about women. Dismissing the importance of the videotape, Trump said it was more important to talk about defeating ISIS.

Clinton did not respond to his remark about her attacking her husband’s accuses. Instead she said the tape showed the world the real Donald Trump. “He has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is,” Clinton said. “But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is”.

Trump also attacked Clinton’s character for calling Trump’s supporters “deplorable” in a public speech, while claiming she wants to be president for all Americans.

He then blasted comments she made to Wall Street bankers in speeches over the past four years that she has refused to made public. But Wikileaks also on Friday released portions of the speeches in which she said sometimes she has to take a public position on issues that are different than her private one.

An undecided voter at the debate asked, “Is it okay for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance?”.

In response, Clinton pointed to Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. president during America’s 19th Century civil war, who she said held both private and public positions when negotiating a change to the constitution to formally outlaw slavery. “She lied,” Trump told her. “Now she’s blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe never lied. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you”.

Source: Qatar News Agency

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