The no-holds-barred political slug-fest that occurred in Las Vegas earlier today, which was witnessed by hundreds of millions of people, was a fitting finale to one of the craziest elections in the US. Here are some highlights of the event:
Trump was asked about the Supreme Court. He gave a narcissistic answer:
The first question of the debate was about the Supreme Court. Clinton flagged out some of the important issues the court could take on if she gets to appoint nominees: campaign finance, abortion, and LGBTQ issues.
Trump, on the other hand, turned the question to himself.
"The Supreme Court, it's what it's all about. Our country, it's so, so, just so imperative that we have the right justices. Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people — many, many millions of people that I represent. And she was forced to apologize, and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never ever have been made."
Clinton and Trump had a serious clash on abortion
Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates to clarify their stance on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalised abortion nationwide.
WALLACE: "What I'm asking you, sir, is do you want to see the Court overturn? You just said you want to see the Court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the Court overturn Roe v. Wade?"
TRUMP: If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically in my opinion because I'm putting pro-life justices on the Court. I will say this, it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination."
WALLACE: "Secretary Clinton?"
CLINTON: "I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case, it's not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what's happening right now in America. So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.
And here is another part of the exchange, on partial-birth abortion"
TRUMP: I think it's terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
Now, you can say that that's okay, and Hillary can say that that's okay, but it's not okay with me. Because based on what she's saying and based on where she's going and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day. And that's not acceptable."
CLINTON: "Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate.
"You should meet with some of the women that I've met with. Women I've known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. I do not believe the government should be making these decisions. I've been to countries where governments forced women to have abortions like they did in China or force women to bear children like they used to do in Romania. I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice, and I will stand up for that right."
Clinton dodged the WikiLeaks questions on Free Trade and porous borders
Clinton was asked about her leaked remarks to a Brazilian bank that her "dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere."
Clinton dodged the question and its implications:
"Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us.
"But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks, and what's really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet."
Trump tried out some Spanish
Speaking on immigration, Trump displayed his brash outspoken side and once again insulted the Latino immigrants when he said, "We have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out." ("Hombres" is Spanish for "men.")
Clinton called Trump Putin's puppet
When Trump's ties to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin came up, this happened:
CLINTON: "Well, that's because [Putin would] rather have a puppet as president."
TRUMP: "No puppet, no puppet."
CLINTON: "And it's pretty clear—"
TRUMP: "You're the puppet."
CLINTON: "It's pretty clear you won't admit—"
TRUMP: "No, you're the puppet."
"No, you!" was the moment when it didn't seem like a presidential debate but rather like two kindergarten children who were bickering and name calling.
Trump's sexual assault allegations came up
Over the past couple of weeks, Trump has been hemorrhaging in the polls following the leaked tape of him making lewd misogynistic remarks such as the "grab 'em by the pu***" comment. Since then, many women have also come out and accused Trump of sexual misconduct and assault. Wallace asked him to address the controversies.
Well, first of all, those stories have been largely debunked. Those people, I don't know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it. Just like if you look at what came out today on the clips where I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence. She is the one — and Obama — that caused the violence. They hired people. They paid them $1,500 and they're on tape saying be violent, cause fights, do bad things.
"I would say the only way, because the stories are all totally false. I have to say that. And I didn't even apologize to my wife, who is sitting right here, because I didn't do anything. I didn't know any of these women. I didn't see these women. These women, the woman on the plane, I think they want either fame or her campaign did it. And I think it's her campaign. When I saw what they did, which is a criminal act, by the way, where they're telling people to go out and start fistfights and start violence, I tell you what, in particular in Chicago, people were hurt and people could have been killed in that riot."
It's not clear what violence at Trump's rallies has to do with sexual assault allegations. And similarly, it's confusing why Trump would emphasise that he did not apologize to his wife over this whole scandal. The allegations have not been debunked and in fact there has been more follow-up reporting that corroborate on one accuser's claims.
Trump once again suggested that the election will be rigged
Later on in the debate, Wallace asked Trump about his claims the election is "rigged" against him.
TRUMP: Excuse me, Chris, if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people registered to vote. This isn't coming from me, from fury report and other places. Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn't be registered to vote.
"So let me just give you one other thing as I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I tell you one other thing. She shouldn't be allowed to run. She's guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect, I say it's rigged. Because she should never -- Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails and so many other things."
WALLACE: "Sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power. And that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner. But that the loser concedes to the winner, and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?"
TRUMP: What I'm saying is I'll tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense, okay?"
It is not only ironic that Trump hit out saying that the Clinton supporters engaged in violence, recently in Chicago (Trump supporters have been documented of engaging in political violence at many of his rallies during the electoral campaigns), his comments of not accepting the election results is what has many political commentators and stakeholders spooked. Many fear that he is encouraging lawlessnees and inciting public passions that may cause large scale violence post the elections.
Trump called Clinton "a nasty woman"
Towards the end of the debate, while Clinton was responding to a question on social security, Trump sucker punched her with his out-of-turn insult.
"I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the social security trust fund — that's part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy," she said. "My social security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it."
It was a reference to reports of Trump evading his taxes. The suggestion being that if Trump got out of paying taxes before, he could also do the same for his social security taxes in the future, even if Clinton raises the payroll tax for the wealthy.
Trump did not appreciate it. "Such a nasty woman," he said.
The debate ended without the two shaking hands. Early voting has already begun and the election is swinging favourably for Hillary who is commanding a comfortable lead. The United States presidential election 2016 is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8 2016.