HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WATE) – There was no shortage of fireworks as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump debated during the first of three presidential debates.
Trump and Clinton had 90 minutes of nonstop debating, moderated by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, to make their case to American voters why they should be in the White House. From the beginning of the debate Clinton referred to her Trump as “Donald.”
Clinton was heard asking, “How are you, Donald?” as they took the stage. In a response about The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump made a show of referring to Clinton as “Secretary Clinton.”
“Now, in all fairness to Secretary Clinton, yes, is that OK? Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me,” said Trump.
Trump was criticizing Clinton’s past support for NAFTA when her husband, former President Bill Clinton signed the agreement. He called it “the worst trade deal ever approved,” to which Clinton snapped “Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts.”
FACT CHECK: NAFTA
Most studies show NAFTA had a relatively small impact on the economy.
“NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters. The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest,” according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report.
Hillary Clinton also took time during the debate to direct voters to her campaign website, HillaryClinton.com. She said it had been converted into a real-time fact-checker intended to correct Trump’s misstatements.
“I kind of assumed there would be a lot of these charges an claims…,” said Hillary. “Facts,” Trump interjected.
Hillary continued, saying “So we have taken the home page of my website, HillaryClinton.com and we have turned it into a fact checker.”
Not to be out done, Trump also said voters should take a look at his website.
“Just go to her website, she tells you how to fight ISIS. I don’t think General MacArthur would like that too much,” said Trump.
Hillary fired back saying “at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.” Trump disagreed saying, “No, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”
“Well go to the police,” said Hillary. “The fact checkers, get to work!”
FACT CHECK: Clinton has been fighting ISIS her “entire adult life”
Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and is currently 68 years old. She reached adulthood in 1965. The Islamic State group grew out of an al-Qaida spinoff, al-Qaida in Iraq in 2013, the year Clinton left the State Department.
Early in the debate, Trump promised to keep jobs in America by cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, adding “That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan.”
Clinton criticized Trump, calling her Republican rival’s tax cut proposals “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics.” She says Trump “really believes the more you help wealthy people, the better off we’ll be.” She also referenced a million-dollar loan Trump got from his father decades ago.
Moderator Lester Holt asked Trump “what took you so long” to acknowledge that President Obama was born in the United States, bringing the Republican nominee’s recent turnaround on an issue that was central to his public positions for years.
At first, Trump claimed that two Clinton aides were the ones who initially looked into Barack Obama’s birth certificate during the 2008 campaign — a claim that he has made before — and then said that he was “satisfied” with when Obama released his birth certificate.
Holt noted that Obama released his longform birth certificate in 2011, but Trump continued to raise questions about it’s authenticity until 2015.
“Nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it,” Trump said, referencing the years between the release and Trump’s decision this month to acknowledge Obama was born in America. “I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job.”
FACT CHECK: Trump’s birther claims
As debate moderator Lester Holt correctly noted, Trump has regularly raised the same doubts about Obama’s citizenship even after the president, in an attempt to end the discussion, released his birth certificate. Obama was born in Hawaii.
“Was it a birth certificate? You tell me,” Trump said in a 2012 interview.
“He was perhaps born in Kenya. Very simple, OK?” Trump said in 2014.
“Who knows about Obama,” Trump said in January 2016.
Trump’s claim that Clinton loyalists started the false rumor about Obama’s citizenship also doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, as the AP and other news outlets have noted. No one in Clinton’s camp publicly questioned Obama’s citizenship, and when Clinton got wind of smears about Obama’s roots or religion, she either rejected or ignored them.
“Wrong. Wrong,” he said when Clinton pointed out that he supported the Iraq war. Trump later returned to the issue when asked about it by moderator Lester Holt. “I did not support the war in Iraq,” he said. “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her. I was against the war in Iraq.”
“Your record shows otherwise,” said moderator Lester Hault. Trump was asked in September 2002 whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with Howard Stern. Trump briefly hesitated, then responded: “Yeah, I guess so.”
Presented with the comment during the debate, Trump responds: “I said very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows.”
He’s also telling reporters to call Fox News host Sean Hannity to confirm private conversations he said they had about the war. Hannity is a top Trump supporter.
Clinton voted in favor of the invasion in 2002 while she was a New York senator. She has since said it was a mistake.
FACT CHECK: Did Trump oppose the Iraq War before the U.S. invasion?
There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the U.S. invaded. Rather, he offered lukewarm support. The billionaire businessman only began to voice doubts about the conflict well after it began in March 2003.
His first known public comment on the topic came on Sept. 11, 2002, when he was asked whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with radio host Howard Stern. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded after a brief hesitation, according to a recording of the interview. Trump then alluded to the first Gulf War in 1991, which ended with Iraqi leaderSaddam Hussein still in power. “You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
On March 21, 2003, just days after the invasion began, Trump said the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”
That September, he said he “would have fought terrorism, but not necessarily Iraq.” In December, he told Fox News that “a lot of people (are) questioning the whole concept of going in in the first place.” But he stopped short of saying that he was among those opponents.
In fact, Trump had voiced support for a hypothetical invasion of Iraq before President George W. Bush took office. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump suggested that he would be in favor of a pre-emptive strike if Iraq was viewed as a threat to national security.
During an argument over Trump not having released his tax returns, he said he would release them if Clinton released her emails.
“Against my lawyer’s wishes, when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted – as soon as she releases them, I will release my tax returns,” he said. “Why did she delete 33,000 emails?”
Trump’s comments were greeted by loud cheers, which caused moderator Lester Holt to admonish the audience for not staying quiet as they had previously agreed.
“I made a mistake using a private email, and if I had it to do over again, I would obviously do it different. I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that,” said Clinton.
In their last big argument of the evening, Trump accused Clinton of not having the stamina to deal with world problems.
“As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” Clinton replied.
“Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience,” said Trump. “Whether it’s the Iran deal, whether it’s any other deal you can name, I agree she has experience, but it’s bad experience.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.