CLARION, Pa.- The second presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) aired this past Sunday. Students had strong opinions on the debate that focused primarily on the ethics of each candidate rather than policy.
Questions moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz initially led to the recently leaked Trump tapes from 2005, which featured Trump speaking about women in highly sexual and inappropriate ways to television personality Billy Bush. Many Clarion University students watched the debate and had a diverse set of perspectives on the candidates, moderators and content of the debate.
Kelsey Snyder, senior speech pathology major, was focused on Donald Trump’s 2005 sexual comments toward women stating she was “disgusted and embarrassed,” and furthermore felt that “Trump barely spoke on policy.”
Snyder also felt that Trump’s excuse for the 2005 comments “condones sexual assault.”
Sophomore accounting major Jason Poor feels that this election is “heading in a direction of entertainment over policy.” He felt the debate audience was too rowdy and that the “loosening structure [of the debates] certainly isn’t helping to prevent the intellectual untangling of the process.”
Madison Daly, senior human resources and business management major, said, “After the scandals of the week, I was excited and scared to watch the debate.”
Daly was disappointed to see that the second debate was just as combative as the first and expressed that “each candidate spent most of their time talking about the flaws of the other.” Daly also “found Donald Trump’s behavior to be childish” and felt he had a “complete lack of respect for his opponent and the moderators.”
Nick Rhoades, senior secondary education in mathematics and social studies major, expressed that he has “seen politicians pivot around questions before, but nothing was more grotesque than Donald Trump avoiding Anderson Cooper’s question regarding the 2005 video of Trump joking about sexually assaulting women.”
The question on the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria was a major point of interest for Rhoades in the debate. He stated, “while Hillary is usually slammed for performing poorly as secretary of state, it was evident during her response about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo that she is knowledgeable.
“In contrast, Trump did not answer the question and demonstrated how inaccurately he understands the Syrian conflict.” Rhoades also found it “extremely troubling” when Trump pledged to appoint a special prosecutor to reinvestigate Clinton’s alleged mishandling of her emails as secretary of state, stating that Trump’s pledge “is an assault on justice and democracy [because] this matter has already been through various investigations and Congressional hearings and a final decision by the federal government.”
The final presidential debate will air Wed. Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The debate will be moderated by Chris Wallace, an anchor for Fox News Sunday.