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The 8 Biggest WTF Moments From the Second Presidential Debate

The second presidential debate got off to a rocky start Sunday as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the stage—without bothering to shake each other’s hands. The election is just a month away, and several polls show the candidates with varying leads. According to Fox News, Clinton’s lead is just by two points. The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll continuously shows Trump ahead in the polls.

Clearly, the election is close. Which means these debates are more important than ever before. And perhaps more effectual than any singular great and outstanding moment for the nominees are their bad moments. Their truly terrible, strange or straight-up WTF moments. If you missed the debate, here are the happenings you need to know about.

1. Before the debate even started, Trump held a news conference with three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault.

“When you look at Bill Clinton, mine were words, his were actions.” These words accompanied Trump as he took the stage in a pre-debate news conference with Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones and Kathy Shelton. Broaddrick, Willey and Jones have all accused former president Bill Clinton of rape or inappropriate sexual behavior. Shelton’s rapist was defended by a younger Hillary Clinton, when she still served as a public defender.

He then invited the women to sit in on the debate.

We knew the debate would be a dirty one when the question of which is worse—“grab her by the pussy” or extramarital affairs and alleged sexual assaults—comes into play. Both. The short answer is both are bad. Comparing how bad your own words are with how terrible an opponent’s husband’s actions are does not clear Trump of any guilt.

2. Trump claimed his hot mic video was just “locker-room banter.”

“It’s just words, folks” said Trump of the 2005 tape that was leaked just days ago. In the tape, he talked to TV host Billy Bush about groping women, and said he could “grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

During the debate, Trump apologized for his vulgar language in the video by saying it was just “locker room talk.” Women, including Amber Tamblyn and Kelly Oxford, have posted their stories of assault on social media—traumatizing incidents where men grabbed them without their consent. Is locker room talk seriously an excuse for unwanted sexual contact and aggressive, threatening language?

3. The Trump sniff made a triumphant return.

This is probably the best part of the debates so far. During the last debate, Trump’s sniffling led viewers to jokingly speculate on all kinds of theories, from health problems to drug use. A little after 10 p.m., Trump sniffed into the microphone yet again. Thank the sniffing lords that we are all around to experience this ridiculousness.

4. Trump admitted that he hasn’t really been talking to his running mate, Mike Pence.

“I haven’t talked to him, I disagree.”—This was Trump’s answer when asked about Pence’s stance that military strikes might be necessary in Syria. Excuse me, what? You haven’t spoken to your own choice for vice president, or agreed on one platform?! This was a serious WTF moment for viewers everywhere. Syria, and all foreign policy issues, are extremely serious. Disclosing that the platform for that particular topic never even came up in a conversation between Trump and Pence is extremely unnerving.

In fairness, Pence hasn’t been acting warm and fuzzy toward Trump either—he canceled a Saturday appearance in support of Trump because he was “offended” by Trump’s comments in the leaked hot mic video.

5. Trump threatened to send Clinton to jail.

“I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say this, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” said Trump. He was talking to Hillary about her use of a personal email during her time as secretary of state.

He also referred to his fellow nominee as the “devil.” That’s one way to win over the female vote.

6. Clinton basically said Trump’s campaign is dead.

“Donald, I know you’re into big diversions tonight—anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and Republicans are leaving you.” Mic drop. And she isn’t wrong—Republican leaders have been denouncing Trump in droves ever since his 2005 comments about women came to light.

7. Trump wouldn’t stop making racist references to the inner city.

Social media users, especially on Twitter, took note of Donald Trump’s synonymous use of “inner city” and “African American community,” beginning when a black audience member asked if the candidates would be presidents “for all Americans.”

“I would be a president for all of the people. African-Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities,” Trump claimed. Twitter users, as always, were the first to point out the really huge issues Trump brings up by using “inner cities” and “African-Americans” as one-in-the-same.

8. Interruptions upon interruptions upon interruptions.

During the last debate, Vox counted Trump interrupting Clinton 51 times. Although the final counts of tonight’s interruptions are not finalized, the problem still seemed a bit ridiculous. Trump interrupted Clinton 6 times—during just one answer. When are men going to stop this nonsense?

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins
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