Strap in!

The second presidential debate was a nasty, depressing, chaotic nightmare from start to finish

Getty Images

If you’re reading this—congratulations, You’ve survived the second presidential debate. Odds are your liquor cabinet’s a little emptier. Maybe your fingernails are a little shorter. But you made it, nonetheless.

Give yourself a pat on the back. You did it.

Sunday night’s debate was fast, furious, and jam packed with WTF moments, any single one of which would have been a total show-stopper in a normal election year. Above all, though, it was unbelievably nasty, depressing, sleazy for large stretches at a time. This is what things have come to, America!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and spend a few minutes picking over the complete and utter nightmare we all just watched.

No touching.

Before either candidate even said a word, it was clear we were in for a hell of a night, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump conspicuously refrained from shaking each other’s hand as they entered the debate hall. The awkward moment is probably a response to the recent revelations made in Donald Trump’s 2005 taped remarks, in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women by grabbing them “by the pussy.”

Trump talks about that video.

It was the elephant in the room—how would Donald Trump respond to the recent publication of his 2005 remarks. The answer? Badly.

When asked by moderator Anderson Cooper whether he truly understands that his statements in the leaked video amounted to bragging about sexual assault, Trump doubled down on his bizarre “aw shucks” defense, claiming “this is locker room talk” and adding later “it’s one of those things.”

He then launched into a whiplash-inducing pivot toward the Islamic State, saying:

When we have a world where ISIS is chopping off heads, and, frankly, drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, when you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times, we haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the word, and they look and they see–Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS, and they look at our country and see that’s going on.

Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it, I hate it, but it’s locker talk, and it’s one of those things.

I will knock the hell out of ISIS, we’re going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgement, and I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS and we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.

…And then goes after the wrong Clinton.

A few minutes after his bizarre “please god let’s talk about ISIS and not my proclivity for sexual assault” answer, Trump turned his attention toward Clinton. Bill Clinton.

“There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women,” Trump declared, indifferent to the fact that Bill is not, in fact, running for office. “So, you can say anyway you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women.”

Language language…

Donald Trump may be the candidate known for his pottymouth, but that doesn’t mean members of Hillary Clinton’s camp are squeaky clean.

Midway through the debate, during a particularly testy exchange in which Trump claimed that slain Muslim-American soldier Humayun Khan would be alive, had Trump occupied the Oval Office, Clinton’s foreign policy spokesman Jesse Lehrich let loose a succinct, if eyebrow raising response:


A few minutes later, he apologized.


Lock her up!

This was one of the most jaw-dropping moments—when Trump threatened to imprison Hillary Clinton, should he be elected President.

Talk it out, guys.

Given the fact that they’re, y’know, running mates, you’d think Donald Trump and Mike Pence would probably chat about important things like policy positions.

Think again.

When asked by moderators to respond to Mike Pence’s recent comments regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria, Trump stunned everyone by admitting “he and I haven’t spoken. And I disagree.”


Trump’s tax tantrum.

Throughout this election, Donald Trump has adamantly refused to release his tax returns, offering a variety of flimsy excuses that have only served to fuel speculation as to what he might be hiding. At Sunday’s debate, part of that mystery was finally solved.

When asked by moderators whether recent New York Times reporting—based on leaked tax forms—was correct in surmising that he had used nearly a billion dollars of loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes, Trump confirmed it.

“Of course I do. And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors,” Trump admitted. He then attempted to use his own tax avoidance as a slam on Clinton, telling the debate crowd, “I know many of her donors. Her donors took massive tax writeoffs. A lot of my write-off was depreciation, and other things that Hillary as a senator allowed, and she’ll always allow it because the people who give her all this money, they want it.”

Oh, okay.

Interrupting Trump Says What?

There was no question Trump was on the offensive during Sunday’s debate. To see just how offensive he was, though, look no further than what should have been a simple answer from Hillary Clinton regarding her private email servers. It was an answer Trump interrupted three times in her first sentence, before bringing the grand total to six interjections by the time she’d finished talking.

Trump looms large


Dude, sit down, you’re making everyone nervous.

Hate that answer.

Never mind that Donald Trump has maligned immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, military families, the physically impaired, and women—according to him, it’s Hillary Clinton who’s got “hate in her heart.”

Um, sure thing, dude.


Ultimately, though, neither candidate answered the big question on everyone’s mind.