Clinton, Trump Clash over Jobs, Terrorism and Race in First Presidential Debate

New York, – Hillary Clinton stood by smiling during most of the first U.S. presidential debate on Tuesday as she provoked emotional responses by her opponent Donald Trump in what appeared to be a strategy to rattle Trump, who was on the defensive most of the night.

Clinton needled Trump on his plan to fight the ISIS, on him not paying his taxes, on his treatment of women, on his denial of climate change, his denigration of Muslims and his position on nuclear weapons.

As Trump grew angrier and angrier Clinton appeared to be laughing at him. At one point she told him he was saying “crazy things”.

Clinton got under Trump’s skin by telling him he started life with a big inheritance, while she was the daughter of a humble small businessman; that he had four times filed for bankruptcy, did not pay his workers, called women “pigs” and had been sued by the government 40 years ago for racial discrimination in a housing development he owned.

Trump seemed uncharacteristically nervous and restrained as the first debate of three began, pointing out his respect for Clinton by calling her “Secretary”. But a series of attacks by Clinton worked to get Trump to emotionally defend himself and make several gaffes, including an admission that he has paid no federal taxes.

After suggesting that Trump would not release his tax returns, as she had, because he may be hiding that he had paid no federal tax, Trump lost his cool and appeared to admit it by interjecting, “That makes me smart.” On the Middle East, Trump accused Clinton, as secretary of state, of creating a vacuum by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq that allowed the ISIS to be established. He attacked her for revealing her plan to fight ISIS on her website. “I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much,” Trump said, referring to the commanding U.S. general in the Pacific during World War II. “Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS,” Clinton retorted. “No, no, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do,” Trump shot back.

Trump said the U.S. had wasted $6 trillion dollars fighting wars in the Middle East, money that could be better spent on rebuilding America’s roads, bridges and airports. “You land at La Guardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX,” Trump said, “and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible… incredible airports, and you land [in the U.S.]– we’ve become a third world country”.

Clinton called for intensified airstrikes against ISIS and to “eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Raqqa, end their claim of being a Caliphate”. “We’re making progress,” she said. “Our military is assisting in Iraq. And we’re hoping that within the year we’ll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then, you know, really squeeze them in Syria. And I think we need to go after Baghdadi, as well … and we’ve got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online”.

Trump told Clinton the ISIS would not exist if his idea of “taking” Iraq’s oil had been followed. ‘Had we taken the oil — and we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income,” he said. “And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil — a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters”.

But Clinton said Trump “actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya and urged that Gadhafi be taken out, after actually doing some business with him one time”.

On domestic issues, Clinton accused Trump of “a long history of engaging in racist behavior”. She called for better relations between police and African Americans after a series of police shootings.

Trump instead called for “law and order” and policy of police stopping African-Americans who had committed no crime to check for weapons, a policy that has been ruled to be unconstitutional.

Trump was strongest in the first half of the debate when he attacked Clinton for supporting trade deals that have cost industrial jobs across the country. Trump vowed to put tariffs on imports from Mexico to force American companies to return jobs to the U.S. “We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people,” he said. The next debate is scheduled for October 4.

Source: Qatar News Agency