quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2016
Donald Trump refuses to say if he will accept election result in final debate
Hillary Clinton calls Republican nominee’s unprecedented refusal ‘horrifying’ in debate that saw heated clashes over abortion, immigration and gun rights
Paul Lewis, Ben Jacobs and Sabrina Siddiqui in Las Vegas
Thursday 20 October 2016 04.35 BST
Donald Trump used the final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton to declare he would keep the country “in suspense” over whether he would accept the outcome of November’s election.
The Republican nominee’s refusal to endorse the results of the election, unheard of in American history, capped a fractious debate in which he clashed with Clinton over abortion, gun rights, immigration and foreign policy.
In one of the final exchanges Trump called his rival for the White House “such a nasty woman” after she attacked his personal record on paying no income tax for years.
However, it was Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of an election he is currently projected to lose that will stand out from Wednesday night’s ill-tempered clash.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said, when pressed by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace, who pointed out Trump was breaking with centuries of peaceful transition of power. “I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said.
Clinton described her rival’s refusal to accept the outcome of the election, which takes place in less than three weeks, as “horrifying”, and even went so far as to paint him as a “puppet” of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“He is denigrating and he is is talking down our democracy,” said the former secretary of state. “And I, for one, am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of two major parties would take that position.”
“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him,” said Clinton, adding that he has, at various times, accused the FBI, Republican primary process and judicial system of being corrupt.
“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.”
“Should have gotten it!” Trump interjected.
People in the debate auditorium laughed at that interruption from the Republican nominee, one of several occasions when the audience erupted, contrary to a request they stay silent.
On another, there were sniggers when Trump insisted: “Nobody has more respect for women that I do, nobody.”
However Trump’s treatment of women was once again on trial in a debate in which he interrupted his opponent mid-flow to claim she was “such a nasty woman”.
Clinton has a six-point lead in an average of national polls, and is ahead of Trump almost all of the key battleground states needed to win the White House.
The bad blood between the candidates was unmistakeable throughout their final head-to-head – and pointedly there was no handshake before or after the contest.
Asked about the nine women who have come forward to accuse Trump of the sexually predatory behavior he bragged about in a 2005 video leaked earlier this month, Trump insisted they were all either seeking “10 minutes of fame” or had been had been somehow orchestrated by Clinton’s campaign.
“Those stories are all totally false – I have to say that,” Trump said. “And I didn’t even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here because I didn’t do anything.”
Pointing out how Trump has publicly denigrated his accusers, Clinton said: “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere doesn’t know what that feels like.”
One of the women to level accusations at Trump, Jill Harth, who gave an extensive interview to Guardian US, tweeted mid-debate: “Trump lied and lied again,” adding: “He says he doesn’t know any of the women. Well, he definitely knew me.”
Another exchange from Trump likely to alienate some women, but one apparently intended to court the evangelical, stemmed from a discussion about the future shape of the US supreme court, which has had an unfilled vacancy since conservative Antonin Scalia’s death in February.
Trump portrayed himself as a candidate who would protect the second amendment right to keep and bear arms and said Roe v Wade, the historic ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion in the US, would “automatically” be overturned if he were elected because of his commitment to pro-life justices.
The Republican characterized Clinton’s position as one that would “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother” just days before a pregnancy. “You can say that that is OK and Hillary can say that that is OK, but it’s not OK with me.”
Clinton countered that Trump’s “scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate”, while setting out her view in favor of women’s reproductive rights. “I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their rights,” she said.
The third debate was not as one-sided as the opening televised contest between the two candidates, in which Clinton was by most accounts declared the winner.
Neither was it as personal as the second debate, in which the candidates clashed in some of the most brutal exchanges ever seen on a presidential stage.
However the final debate before the election was heated and at times bizarre, making plain the differences in policy and style between the two candidates – who spoke in grave terms about the consequences of their adversaries in the White House.
Trump spoke in stark terms about immigration, the touchstone of his campaign, saying there were mothers in the audience whose children had been “brutally killed” by undocumented immigrants. He promised to stem what he characterized as an avalanche of people and heroin coming across the border, which he said was “poisoning the blood” of young Americans.
Trump reiterated his call for a wall on the US-Mexico border and saying of his plans to deport undocumented immigrants: “We have some bad hombres here that were going to get them out.”
Clinton reiterated her position of allowing undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, and mocked Trump for failing to mention his signature wall during his meeting with the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto over the summer. “He choked,” she said.
She also delivered a wounding line telling him that there were “undocumented immigrants in America who are paying more federal income tax than a billionaire.”
The Democratic nominee was pressed over a disclosure in emails leaked via WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, which revealed she had said her dream was for a “hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders” during a speech to a Brazilian bank.
Sidestepping the question, Clinton deftly pivoted to Russia’s apparent involvement in the US election by allegedly hacking the emails of her campaign manager and passing them to WikiLeaks.
She insisted “the most important question of this evening” was whether Trump would condemn president Vladimir Putin’s “unprecedented” attempt to interfere in the US election, which she said had been confirmed by 17 intelligence agencies.
When she challenged Trump to disavow Putin’s support, he replied: “I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good.”
“That’s because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States,” Clinton shot back.
“No puppet,” Trump replied. “You’re the puppet.”
Trump added that Clinton has “no idea if it’s Russia, China, or anyone else” who was behind the hacking, apparently contradicting the reported briefings he has received from security official fingering Putin’s regime.
Trump added: “She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted at every step of the way.”
One section of the WikiLeaks disclosures Trump sought to capitalize on was an email in which her campaign manager appeared to question the Democratic candidate’s instincts.
“WikiLeaks just actually came out John Podesta said some horrible things about you and boy was he right,” Trump said. “He said some beauties.”
Trump, who is being opposed by many senior Republicans, also tried to fuel the impression that Clinton is also opposed by her former Democratic rival.
“Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment,” he said. “I agree.”
Clinton countered that Sanders has been campaigning for her across the country, warning voters the Republican candidate is “the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America.” She added: “I think he’s right.”
There are 20 days left before election day, but Wednesday’s debate was the last occasion both candidates were scheduled to share the stage, marking the final stretch in one of the most wildly unpredictable presidential races of modern times.
It has been one that has been dominated, throughout, by the former reality TV star, who opened the first primary debate 14 months ago by brazenly declaring “politicians are stupid” and threatening to ditch the GOP and run as an independent.
His refusal to accept the outcome of the election at the debate in Las Vegas was perhaps his last throw of the dice. But it is a move the Clinton camp is likely to exploit in the closing weeks of its campaign.
“Nobody, Republican or Democrat, can support him going around trying to question the integrity of our elections,” said Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, adding that Trump was jeopardizing “the peaceful transition of power that has been a long running tradition and is an important democratic institution in this country.”