Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated for the final time in Las Vegas, Nevada, last night. In a long and heated campaign, this was the final face-to-face encounter of the two candidates. Trump defended his record following a series of scandals, while Clinton presented to sceptical voters her case that a Hillary victory is the only reasonable option.
The pair kept a safe distance from one another, failing to shake hands at any point, but the tone was decidedly more formal and reasonable than in the second debate. This was largely due to moderator Chris Wallace’s decision to open and close with ‘serious’ questions (Supreme Court choices, National Debt), and withhold reference to Trump’s personal scandals until later in the proceedings. What took place was, if not as substantive as a traditional Presidential Debate, significantly more focused on policy than what has been previously seen from the candidates.
An early exchange about Supreme Court nominations led to a discussion of abortion and gun rights- arguably the most divisive issues in American society- with Trump appealing to the conservative GOP base to support his campaign on the grounds that he’ll nominate a pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment judge to SCOTUS. Clinton confirmed that she intends to reaffirm President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, a moderate centrist who senate Republicans have previously spoken highly of.
On the topic of immigration, Trump referenced his plan to build a border wall for the first time in several weeks and criticised the “Bad Hombres” (presumably referring to latino illegal immigrants) who dwell among unsuspecting Americans. Trump claimed that ICE (the department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement) have endorsed him. This was a false claim.
Trump criticised Clinton’s links to Qatar (“these people push gays off buildings”) and Haiti (“the people of Haiti hate Bill and Hillary”). He rejected a claim by Clinton that he has used Trump Foundation charity money to settle personal lawsuits, stating that he in fact used the money to purchase an American flag.
One major point of contention surrounding Trump’s campaign has been a series of recent claims that the election is “rigged” against him. Wallace pressed Trump on whether he will accept the democratic result of the election if he loses. He said he hasn’t decided yet and will “keep us in suspense”.
Once again, there were no questions about climate change: arguably the most crucial issue of our times.