AltM’s Second #Debate Twitter Round Up

The second Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had plenty of fireworks, tweeted live by altM at #altMLive.  Trump came into the debate under intense pressure, after a leaked 2005 video showed him bragging about groping women.  Dozens of Republicans publicly denounced him and called for him to step down, including Senator John McCain.

Trump issued an apology and then surprised everyone by hosting a press conference right before the debate.  He appeared on a table surrounded by women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct.  It was clear going in that Trump wanted to make President Clinton’s sexual history the center of his defense strategy.

His campaign announced that some of the women would be seated at the debate, and they were indeed found sitting in the audience.

The debate started coldly, with neither of the candidates shaking hands and both walking in with grim and worried faces.  It appeared that Trump’s ploy to distract and dismay Clinton had hit its mark.

However as soon as the debate began it was clear that Trump was more frazzled than Clinton.  The debate was moderated by Martha Radditz and Anderson Cooper, and neither of them was willing to back down or give Trump any leeway (unlike Lester Holt in the first debate).

The very first question brought into question Trump’s leaked tape.  An audience member asked if the candidates were displaying appropriate and positive behavior.  Trump tried to dodge the question by discussing Iran sanctions and trade deals.

Cooper re-directed the question to Trump, stating: “We received a lot of questions about the tape released on Friday. You called what you said locker room banter — kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.”

Trump responded, bizarrely, by comparing his “locker room antics” with ISIS chopping off heads and drowning people in metal cages.

Clinton responded strongly: “What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women.  And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is.”

It was a powerful moment in this election, as the first woman likely to be President stared down a man who was trying to personally shame her for her husband’s conduct, while deflecting his own well-documented misogyny.

Trump then brought up Bill Clinton.  His argument:  I’ve just fantasized about assaulting women, Clinton has actually done it.

Much to Trump’s likely disappointment, Clinton did not take the bait.  She instead cited Michelle Obama’s now famous lines: “When they go low, we go high.”

Clinton then listed a long list of people that Trump has not apologized to, and made the first of many references to Muslim Captain Humayun Khan, whose parents were attacked by Trump for weeks.

Trump then proceeded to note, outrageously, that Captain Khan would be alive today if Trump had been president, totally forgetting that it was a Republican president that got the US involved in the Iraq war.

Trump was asked about his changing position on the Muslim ban, and his answer was unclear.  Clinton immediately pounced and noted that his ban is illegal under US law.

Trump proceeded to note that he may put Hillary in jail if he wins, a statement that may be remembered as one of his most outrageous in this election.

The candidates also gave noteworthy responses to a Muslim audience member who asked them both what they would do to help Muslims in America deal with Islamophobia and the perception that American Muslims are a threat to the country.

Trump’s response was dismissive, with not a hint of acknowledgement that he is the chief instigator of Islamophobia in the country right now.  Clinton, yet again, mentioned that Muslims are allies and could help report potential attacks.

This led to Muslims tweeting numerous sharp #MuslimsReportStuff responses.

The conclusion, yet again, was that Muslims were discussed in the context of terrorism and radicalization and not as the victims of Islamophobia.

The debate also saw Trump admitting, yet again, that he does not pay taxes.

Throughout the debate Trump continued to angrily interrupt Clinton, and respond sharply to the moderators asking him to move on.  He continued pacing restlessly behind Clinton, swaying, and making grim faces as the debate came to an end.

Despite a weak debate performance, Trump has made it clear that he is in this election until the end.  It’s anyone’s guess what issues he will bring up at the final debate.  The consensus at the conclusion was that Clinton won the debate.

Uzma Mariam Ahmed is a lawyer, a writer, and the chair of altMuslimah’s Advisory Committee.


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