The first of the presidential debates between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, on September 26th.
The debate was moderated by NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt, and was divided into six segments of about 15 minutes each, where the participants were given 2 minutes to elicit their response to the prompts and questions, after which they could respond to each other.
The three main areas of debate related to economy, race relations, and security.
Clinton and Trump were divided on how to approach each of these national concerns, and expressed their points of view on what they propose to do once they are elected.
To solve the problem of jobs, Clinton suggested investing in infrastructure, renewable energy, and small businesses, raising minimum wage and taxes, among other measures.
"I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women's work," Clinton said.
"I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top," she added.
On the other hand, Trump emphasized the need to prevent jobs from leaving the country, and boosting the businesses at all levels by reducing taxes, so that companies have incentives to expand and produce more jobs.
"Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico. They're going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They're devaluing their currency, and there's nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they're using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing," he said.
"Under my plan, I'll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That's going to be a job creator like we haven't seen since Ronald Reagan. It's going to be a beautiful thing to watch."
Clinton's plans included investing in clean energy to pump up economic activity and producing jobs.
"We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That's a lot of jobs; that's a lot of new economic activity," she reiterated.
Trump did not agree that solar panels could create jobs, but said that he was instead a "believer in all forms of energy." He said that investment in solar panels was not a practical solution in the backdrop of a $20 trillion national debt.
"We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one."
"Now, look, I'm a great believer in all forms of energy, but we're putting a lot of people out of work. Our energy policies are a disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt," he said.
Coming to the issue of race relations in the country, Clinton said that authorities have to work towards building trust between the communities and the police, while referring to the recent shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott.
"We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they're well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law," Clinton said.
"The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we're seeing today," she continued.
In response to the question of violence in the inner city and racial relations, Trump noted that people need law and order, adding that "if we don't have it, we're not going to have a country."
"We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it's so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot," he said.
"We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they're illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant."
"You need more police. You need a better community, you know, relation. You don't have good community relations in Chicago. It's terrible. I have property there. It's terrible what's going on in Chicago."
He concurred with Clinton on the need to build community relations between the citizens and the police.
"You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this," he said.
The next segment of the debate was about securing America from cyber attacks, and what their approach was confronting this issue. Both of the candidates agreed that foreign state actors including ISIS were real threats to cyber security in the US and that this needed to be dealt with, though none of them specified any detailed course of action planned in dealing with the menace.
On America's role of defending countries around the world, Trump had a very different opinion from that of Clinton. He said that America loses a lot of money in protecting other countries, and that the services must be charged as the nation is already under huge debt.
"We defend Japan, we defend Germany, we defend South Korea, we defend Saudi Arabia, we defend countries. They do not pay us. But they should be paying us, because we are providing tremendous service and we're losing a fortune," Trump said.
"They may have to defend themselves or they have to help us out. We're a country that owes $20 trillion. They have to help us out," he said. "I want to help all of our allies, but we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world.”
To this, Hillary remarked that the words which are heard from the leaders of a country matter and that good words need to come out from presidential candidates. She assured allies that America stands with them.
"Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them," said Clinton.
"It is essential that America's word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I've talked with a number of them. But I want to -- on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people -- say that, you know, our word is good," she continued.