Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The second debate summed up in three moments

Jonathan Capehart (Washington Post) sums up the debate, highlighting Three revealing Donald Trump moments in that hot mess of a town hall.

The first 30 minutes of the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump failed to respect the dignity of the American people. That Trump would go all “Real Housewives” by bringing three women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual assault (or worse) was beneath the dignity of the office of president of the United States.

It remains to be seen if Trump can sink lower. Here are the three moments.

Trump suggested that he used the $916 million loss on his federal income taxes to avoid paying federal income taxes.

“Did you use that multimillion dollar loss to avoid paying federal income taxes?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Trump. “Of course I do, and so do all of her donors.” Considering he won’t release his tax returns, this will have to serve as confirmation of such a stunning fact.

Trump threatened to put Clinton in jail over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Trump said. “There’s never been anything like it. And we’re going to get a special prosecutor.” Clinton responded by saying, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.” Trump’s retort was breathtaking: “Because you’d be in jail,” he said.

So breathtaking that Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, tweeted, “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. Presidents don’t threaten prosecution of individuals. Trump is wrong on this.” Win or lose, what Trump threatened was wrong.

Trump publicly rebuked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R).

Asked whether he agreed with his running mate’s stance that “the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo,” Trump said, “He and I haven’t spoken. And I disagree.”

Looks like the curtain fell off the once-mutually beneficial political marriage of convenience. At the vice-presidential debate, Pence basically acted like the sensible uncle who ignored the crazy in-law who also happens to be his boss. That Trump says the two haven’t spoken is even more telling because the Republican Party appeared to resemble the final moments of the Hindenburg in the 48 hours leading up to Sunday night’s town hall.

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