Trump, Clinton go toe to toe
Republican candidate Donald Trump lashed out against China and Mexico in the first few minutes of Monday’s closely watched presidential debate, setting the stage for an aggressive blame game.
NBC moderator Lester Holt kicked off the 90-minute session with a question on how each candidate would create jobs that would put more money in the hands of American workers.
Trump responded with a direct attack on two familiar targets: the trade threat posed by China and Mexico. “Our jobs are fleeing the country, they are going to Mexico, and many other countries,” the 70-year-old told the audience at Hofstra University in New York.
“Look at what China is doing to our country. ... They are devaluing their currency and we have nobody in our government to fight them. ... They are using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing.”
Storied US car maker Ford said this month that the company’s small-car production would move to Mexico over the next two to three years, citing the need to be competitive.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who responded to Holt’s question after Trump, advocated increasing the national minimum wage, providing equal pay for women, and corporate profit-sharing as ways to create new jobs with rising incomes.
Clinton asked American voters to decide whether she or Donald Trump could “make your life better.”
Clinton opened the debate pitching her economic policies as the best way to help most voters. She added that voters should use the first of three debates to assess “who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency” and who can “put into action” their plans.
Trump blamed Clinton for what he said have been “defective” trade agreements that have cost American jobs.
Trump also criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was approved under president Bill Clinton, Mrs Clinton’s husband.
Clinton said fixing race relations came down to two things: restoring trust between police and communities of color and reforming gun laws.
Clinton said gun violence is the leading cause of death among young African-American men and tackling the “plague of gun violence” was critical.
She said race remains a “significant issue” that too often determines where people live and go to school and how they’re treated in the criminal justice system.
Clinton attacked Trump on his business record, saying she was “relieved” her late father never had to work with the billionaire businessman.
Clinton said Trump has “stiffed” thousands of workers and small business owners and he should apologize to them. She also said an architect who designed a clubhouse for one of Trump’s golf courses and was not properly paid was in the audience.
Clinton’s father, Hugh Rodham, was a successful textile merchant. The Democratic presidential nominee said Trump’s business record, including his companies’ multiple bankruptcies, show he’d be a poor president.
Trump defended his business prowess, saying many of his ventures had been successful and he had numerous business partners who were happy to work with him.
Clinton said Trump has a simple reason he won’t release his tax returns: He’s got something to hide.
Trump said he would release his tax returns if his opponent released what he called her “33,000 deleted” emails.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York on Monday.