Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

5 Things That Made No Sense at the First Presidential Debate


Popular
5 Things That Made No Sense at the First Presidential Debate

By Ryan Schleeter

From Hillary Clinton's viral "shimmy" to Donald Trump's expansive vocabulary, we all just processed a lot. Let's break it down.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in their first presidential debate on Sept 27 at Hofstra University.Michael Vadon, Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The Bonkers

1. That time that Trump essentially admitted to not paying federal income taxes.

What started as a routine question from moderator Lester Holt about why Trump has not released his tax returns—as all presidential nominees have for decades—turned into one of the more bizarre moments of the night when Trump may have admitted to not paying federal income taxes.

Then it got even weirder when he claimed "that makes me smart."

Bypassing everything wrong with not paying federal income taxes, let's talk about what we'd find on those tax returns should Trump release them: a lot of connections to the fossil fuel industry.

The financial disclosure form that Trump has released (which, #factcheck, is not the same as a tax return as it does not provide the same level of transparency) reveals investments in the range of $500,000 to $1 million in companies like Chevron, Shell and Dakota Access Pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners.

2. That time Trump denied claiming that "global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese."

This one was a bit of a roller coaster.

Secretary Clinton brought up this statement made by Trump back in 2012 in response to a question about green jobs and renewable energy. First, Trump denied having made the statement (which he did), then reports circulated on Twitter that his campaign deleted the tweet (which it didn't). Now, we're back in a familiar position—Trump denied saying something he most definitely said in front of an audience of millions and he still doesn't "believe" in climate science.

But go ahead Trump campaign, by all means delete that tweet—we've got the screenshots.

3. This astonishingly bad definition of "good business."

If millions of people losing their homes while predatory investors profit is "good business," I'm not sure I want to know what bad business looks like.

4. That time Trump claimed stop-and-frisk "worked really well in New York"—and pretty much everything else he said about race.

In response to a question about the divide over issues of racial justice in the United States, Trump—who bears responsibility for growing that divide and fueling the white nationalist movement—hailed New York City's stop-and-frisk policy.

Not only was stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional (which Trump incorrectly denied) for its targeting and discrimination of Black and Latino men, it was ineffective. Police data from Chicago—where Trump has proposed implementing stop-and-frisk to combat so-called "black-on-black crime" (reminder: that's not a thing)—actually show that an increase in police stops did nothing to prevent gun violence or solve murders.

5. That time Trump chided Clinton and President Obama for taking climate change seriously.

While discussing national security, Trump claimed to agree with Clinton that "nuclear weapons are the greatest threat facing the world." Before we had a chance to remember that this is the same candidate who reportedly asked "why can't we use them [nuclear weapons]," he threw in this zinger for good measure: "not global warming like you and your president thinks [sic]."

The U.S. Department of Defense would disagree.

In 2014, the Pentagon called climate change a "threat multiplier." In 2015, an Iraq veteran and adviser to the U.S. Army had elevated that to "mother of all risks." And by the beginning of 2016, top officials in the military were given specific orders to factor climate change into their planning.

The Logical

1. Most things Hillary Clinton said.

In the absence of questions on crucial issues like climate change or fossil fuels, we didn't hear much from Clinton on some of the most important issues of this election. But what we did hear was pretty good.

Clinton made the case for creating jobs in the renewable energy sector, an increase in the national minimum wage and equal pay for women, and for addressing systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

One of Clinton's best lines of the night came during the racial justice portion of the debate, when she stated, "implicit [racial] bias is a problem for everyone, not just the police." Five minutes later, Trump confirmed this statement when he said he thought he did a "good job" in starting and fueling the racist birther movement that questioned the birthplace and citizenship of our country's first black president.

Looking Ahead

Future debates should give Clinton the opportunity to tell us more about how she'll address climate change and begin that systemic change she rightly called for. And it will give Trump a chance to tell us … the truth?

Moderators, your challenge awaits.

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less