Trump, the Republican nominee, talked over Clinton and moderator Lester Holt several times early on. Clinton targeted Trump on the issue of his failure to release his tax returns and questions about his business operations. Trump hammered Clinton on her support for trade pacts including NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
At one point Trump’s comments veered into the question of the threat from ISIS and Trump’s contention that Clinton’s policy pronouncements amount to “telling the enemy everything you want to do.” He also accused Clinton of being ineffectual against ISIS and having fought the terrorist group “your entire adult life.”
To which Clinton responded: “I have a feeling I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.”
Trump at times returned to his off-the-cuff style demonstrated during the many debates of the primary season. When Clinton accused him of “rooting” for the collapse of the housing market in 2008, Trump interjected: “That’s called business, by the way.”
Clinton posited that Trump had not released his tax returns out of concern that they would show he had not personally paid any income tax in recent years, and Trump interjected: “That makes me smart.”
As the two continued to battle over the tax return issue, Trump vowed to release his returns if Clinton would release 33,000 deleted emails from her tenure as Secretary of State. Clinton’s use of private email during her time as Secretary of State has been a scandal that has dogged her campaign. During the debate, she acknowledged it was a mistake and allowed: “If I had to do it over again I would obviously do it differently.”