Column: First debate highlighted Trump’s many flaws
How anyone, after Monday night, could consider him fit to lead our nation makes no sense.
Oct. 03, 2016
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Tess Vrbin is a sophomore journalism student at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about national politics for The Maneater.
For months, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asserted that her adversary, Donald Trump, is bigoted, sexist, dishonest and unfit to be president. On Monday night, in front of a record-breaking 84 million people, he proved her right.
The first of three presidential debates began civilly but eventually became contentious, and Trump’s behavior gave Clinton the upper hand. By interrupting her, saying untrue things and generally just running his mouth, Trump made a fool of himself. If he was hoping his performance would make him appear presidential, he failed.
When Clinton said Trump had hoped to profit from the 2008 housing crisis that cost 9 million people their jobs and 5 million their homes, he replied, “That’s called business.” In three words, he proved he cares more about himself than millions of Americans who are less fortunate than he is.
Later, Trump called himself “smart” for paying no federal income tax. Really? College students who have jobs and take out loans just to get a bachelor’s degree end up dealing with both taxes and debt. The idea of an immensely rich person paying no income tax is actually unreasonable because the theory of “trickle-down” economics has been proven false.
Clinton mentioned Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax, and he denied it. Several Twitter users, including Clinton via her campaign staff, immediately unearthed a Trump tweet from 2012 that proved he was lying. Trump continued to lie when he said that he did not support the war in Iraq and that Clinton has “been fighting ISIS (her) entire adult life.”
Additionally, Trump said stop-and-frisk policing “worked very well” in New York City when in reality it was ruled unconstitutional for unfairly targeting young black and Hispanic men. On that note, Trump reiterated his constant assertion that communities of color live in misery. As Clinton said in response, minority communities have plenty of positive traits.
Of all the character flaws Trump revealed during the debate, the most striking one was sexism. When moderator and NBC anchor Lester Holt asked him what he meant when he said earlier this month that Clinton doesn’t have “a presidential look,” Trump tried to dodge the question by saying Clinton lacks stamina. Journalist Dan Rather pointed out on Twitter that “’stamina’ is just a code word for weakness and ‘you’re not up to the job’ that women have been hearing for far too long.” Clinton had several witty lines on Monday night, but one of her best was, “As soon as [Trump] travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal … or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”
She continued to press the issue by calling Trump out for his history of sexist comments, including calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” The following morning, Trump defended his behavior, saying it was a “problem” that Machado had gained weight. How any woman could vote for him, especially after Monday and Tuesday, is beyond my comprehension.
In fact, it makes no sense how anyone could consider Trump fit to lead our nation. Besides the evidence of his dishonesty, racism and sexism, he barely prepared for the debate. Meanwhile, in her own words, Clinton “prepared to be president.” Once he started rambling and treating her with disrespect, she stood onstage with a smile on her face and let it happen. She didn’t have to highlight the reasons why Trump should not be elected. He did it himself.