The second United States presidential debate, which was crucial for Republican nominee Donald Trump as it was his first public encounter after tapes of him making lewd remarks on women surfaced, was held on Monday at the Washington University in St Louis. The debate was in the Town Hall format where the two presidential candidates answered the questions by audience.
While Trump seemed less energetic than last time, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton didn’t miss the chance to corner him on the issue of the tapes.
Unlike the last time, the two candidates did not shake hands before the debate. However, as the debate ended on a positive note, there was a warm handshake.
Here are the top points of the debate:
It turned nasty from the start over Trump’s 2005 video of lewd and sexually explicit remarks against women. “I think it is clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is. This is who Donald Trump is," Clinton said.
Trump replied, “I’m not proud of it. I apologise to my family. I apologise to the American people. Certainly I am not proud of it. But this is locker room talk ... Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk, and it's one of those things.”
When pressed on whether Muslim ban is no longer his position, Trump said the ban in ‘some form has morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world’. Trump said he does not want to see hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria ‘when we know nothing about them, we know nothing about their values, and we know nothing about their love for our country’.
Clinton shot back, saying: “We are not at war with Islam.” She said Trump's ‘extremely unwise’ and ‘even dangerous’ comments about Muslims are used to recruit terrorists.
Attacking Clinton for her ‘bad judgement’, Trump said she wants amnesty for everybody. Citing the San Bernardino massacre by the Muslim couple that killed 14 people, Trump said Muslims have to report ‘problems’ in their neighbourhood when they see them.
When asked about whether he had used tax laws to avoid paying personal federal income tax, Trump said, 'Of course I did. And so did many of her (Clinton's) donors'. The question was brought up when Trump said 'Clinton will raise your taxes and I will bring it down to one of the lowest rates in the world. I understand the tax code better than anybody that's ever run for president'.
To which, Clinton replied, 'Trump living in an alternative reality, it is amusing to hear someone like him talk about taxes.'
On Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State, Trump vowed to launch a special investigation and ensure she is jailed if he is elected as the President. “We are going to get a special prosecutor and we are going to look into it, because you know what? People... their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you have done,” Trump said.
On Trump's praises for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Clinton said that for the first time, a foreign power is trying to influence the presidential election in all likelihood for Trump, whom she accused of being close to Putin.
Trump denied the allegations. “I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. I don’t know Putin.”
On the ‘birther’ issue, trump said Clinton should apologise to President Barack Obama for raising it. “You’re the one who sent the pictures around your campaign, sent the pictures around with President Obama in a certain garb. That was long before I was ever involved, so you actually owe an apology.”
Trump claimed that the relationship between Clinton and the Obamas have been not good.
And lastly, the two were asked what they respect about one another.
Clinton responded by praising Trump’s children. “His children are incredibly able and devoted. Trump's children have long been his strongest validators,” she said.
And Trump said for Clinton that ‘she doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. That’s what I respect about her’.
Photographs: Jim Young, Saul Loeb, Shannon Stapleton, Rick Wilking, Lucy Nicholson/Reuters