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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Second debate explores character of candidates

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Photo by Matt Svilar

 A viewing of the second presidential debate, hosted by Western’s None of the Above Club, provided 20 students an opportunity to view Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump field questions in a Town Hall-style format.

One of the most talked about topics on social media prior to the debate was Donald Trump’s comments about women in a 2005 recording released over the weekend by The Washington Post. In the recording, Trump can be heard using vulgar and demeaning language to describe women.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a public statement Trump’s recorded conversation amounts to an admission of sexual assault.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who moderated the debate alongside ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, wasted no time questioning the Republican nominee about his comments on the tape.

In response, Trump dismissed his comments as “locker-room talk,” saying, “it’s one of those things.”

Clinton took advantage of the situation, saying Trump’s comments about women “represents exactly who he is.”

In light of the released recording, Trump has publicly lost the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan and many female Republican members of Congress.

The candidates fielded additional questions regarding quality of character and ability to act as role models for the nation’s youth.

“Foreign policy is the main issue. What are we going to do about Russia? What are we going to do about Syria?”

Jake Hazel

For Western student Jake Hazel, the debate granted insight into how the potential candidates will interact with the global community.

“Foreign policy is the main issue,” Hazel said . “What are we going to do about Russia? What are we going to do about Syria?”

Sophomore Julia Phillips had a different reaction, saying the candidates acted “very childish” by avoiding questions and jabbing back and forth at each other.

“Tonight was pretty much a joke,” she said.

Clinton answered questions about recently leaked speeches given to Wall Street bankers. She responded by saying politicians have both private and public stances on issues.

Each candidate had a chance to discuss their stance on ISIS. Clinton specifically stated she would arm the Kurdish ground forces and work with rebel groups in the region to bring down ISIS. Trump stated he would be “hard on ISIS.”

Questions on the Affordable Care Act, islamophobia, global terrorism, Trump refusing to release his tax returns and how to deal with Russian aggression were other main topics of the debate.

Perhaps the most unexpected question was the final one of the night, when an audience member asked both candidates to complement each other and state one thing they appreciated about the other person.

Clinton said she admired Trump’s children and what they have accomplished, while Trump said he respects that Clinton doesn’t give up easily.

The third and final presidential debate will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

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