On Monday night, the two major-party candidates squared off for the first presidential debate. It was one of the most anticipated debates in US history. Ahead of the event, TV network executives predicted as many as 100 million people across the United States would tune in. Many more also watched from around the world, including across Asia, Europe and in Latin America. But these viewers did not see any third-party candidates on stage. So, in a Democracy Now! broadcast special, we invited Dr. Jill Stein to respond to the same questions posed to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
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AMY GOODMAN: In one of the most anticipated debates in US history, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sparred last night on race, terrorism, trade and jobs, in their first of three debates before the November election. Today we’re airing excerpts from the debate and expanding the debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. Stein and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson were excluded from last night’s debate at Hofstra University under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. On Monday afternoon, Jill Stein was escorted off the campus by Hofstra security and Nassau County police as she attempted to do an interview with MSNBC. About two dozen people were later arrested protesting the exclusion of third-party candidates.
Well, today, as is our tradition, we break the sound barrier. Democracy Now! expands the debate. Debate moderator, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, asks Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump questions, and after their responses, we give Jill Stein a chance to answer the same questions from her own podium. We invited Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson to join us, as well, but he declined. We go now to Lester Holt.
LESTER HOLT: And I want to talk about taxes. The fundamental difference between the two of you concerns the wealthy. Secretary Clinton, you’re calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. I’d like you to further defend that. And, Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that. And this next two-minute answer goes to you, Mr. Trump.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’m really calling for major jobs, because the wealthy are going create tremendous jobs. They’re going to expand their companies. They’re going to do a tremendous job. I’m getting rid of the carried-interest provision. And if you really look, it’s not a tax — it’s really not a great thing for the wealthy. It’s a great thing for the middle class. It’s a great thing for companies to expand.
And when these people are going to put billions and billions of dollars into companies, and when they’re going to bring two-and-a-half trillion dollars back from overseas, where they can’t bring the money back, because politicians like Secretary Clinton won’t allow them to bring the money back, because the taxes are so onerous, and the bureaucratic red tape, so what — is so bad. So what they’re doing is they’re leaving our country, and they’re, believe it or not, leaving because taxes are too high and because some of them have lots of money outside of our country. And instead of bringing it back and putting the money to work, because they can’t work out a deal to — and everybody agrees it should be brought back. Instead of that, they’re leaving our country to get their money, because they can’t bring their money back into our country, because of bureaucratic red tape, because they can’t get together, because we have a — we have a president that can’t sit them around a table and get them to approve something.
And here’s the thing: Republicans and Democrats agree that this should be done. Two-and-a-half trillion. I happen to think it’s double that. It’s probably $5 trillion that we can’t bring into our country, Lester. And with a little leadership, you’d get it in here very quickly, and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful. But we have no leadership. And honestly, that starts with Secretary Clinton.
LESTER HOLT: All right. You have two minutes on the same question, to defend tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, Secretary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON: I have a feeling that by the end of this evening I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.
DONALD TRUMP: Why not?
HILLARY CLINTON: Why not? Yeah, why not? You know, just join — join the debate by saying more crazy things. Now, let me say this.
DONALD TRUMP: There’s nothing crazy —
HILLARY CLINTON: It is absolutely the case — it —
DONALD TRUMP: — about not letting our companies bring their money back into their country.
LESTER HOLT: OK, this is — this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes, please.
DONALD TRUMP: Yes.
HILLARY CLINTON: Yeah, well, let’s start the clock again, Lester. We’ve looked at your tax proposals. I don’t see changes in the corporate tax rates or the kinds of proposals you’re referring to that would cause the repatriation, bringing back of money that’s stranded overseas. I happen to support that.
DONALD TRUMP: Then you didn’t read it.
HILLARY CLINTON: I happen to — I happen to support that in a way that will actually work to our benefit. But when I look at what you have proposed, you have what is called now the Trump loophole, because it would so advantage you and the business you do. You’ve proposed an approach that has a —
DONALD TRUMP: Who gave it that name? The first I’ve ever — who gave it that name?
LESTER HOLT: This is — sir, this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes.
HILLARY CLINTON: — $4 billion tax benefit for your family. And when you look at what you are proposing —
DONALD TRUMP: How much — how much for my family? Lester, how much?
HILLARY CLINTON: — it is, as I said, trumped-up trickle-down. Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in in 2008 and ’09. Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked. And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that, and they are saying, “Hey, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class.”
I don’t think top-down works in America. I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get their education, helping people refinance their — their debt from college at a lower rate — those are the kinds of things that will really boost the economy. Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re —
DONALD TRUMP: Typical politician: all talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never going to happen. Our country is suffering because people like Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and in terms of what’s going on.
Now, look, we have the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression. And believe me: We’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that’s going to come crashing down. We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we better be awfully careful.
And we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed — the Fed is doing political — by keeping the interest rates at this level. And believe me: The day Obama goes off and he leaves and he goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen, because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, you have two minutes.
DR. JILL STEIN: So, we need a just tax system. Both Democrats and Republicans, over the past decades, have shifted the tax base from corporations and the wealthy far more onto the backs of the middle class and working people and the poor. So, the things that Donald Trump is talking about, indeed, they don’t work. They’ve been tried before.
The Democrats and Republicans essentially eliminated the — well, Donald Trump is proposing to eliminate the inheritance tax, after Democrats and Republicans reduced it through the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which then Barack Obama made permanent. So, that inheritance tax needs to be restored, because the inheritance tax helps us prevent the establishment of an aristocracy, which is what we now have in the United States, where 22 billionaires have the wealth, among them, equivalent to 50 percent of the American population. And this wealth is being massively accumulated and passed on, which establishes the kind of aristocracy which was not supposed to be a part of this country. So we need to put the inheritance tax back where it was before the Bush tax cuts.
We need to increase the top marginal rates in the income tax. You could put them back to where they were even under Ronald Reagan, and they would be at the 55, 60 percent tax level. And we should put a tax on Wall Street. Why should the wealthiest sector of the economy be the one sector which is not contributing a sales tax to our general revenues? So, even putting a tiny tax on Wall Street transactions would generate hundreds of billions of dollars, which are critically needed.
In addition, as I mentioned, we need a Green New Deal to actually create the jobs directly, government-funded jobs, which create incentives, grants and loans for small businesses, for worker cooperatives and nonprofits, and with government as an employer of last resort to ensure that we have the jobs that we need to transition the economy in the time frame needed to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, a healthy and sustainable food system, which is currently the source of many of our fossil fuel emissions, and efficient, renewably powered public transportation, also to restore our ecosystems. And finally, healthcare as a human right needs to be provided as a basic right for everyone through an improved Medicare-for-all system. It doesn’t cost any more. We simply eliminate the middleman and the profiteering, and put our healthcare dollars into real healthcare.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Lester Holt.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?
DONALD TRUMP: I don’t mind releasing. I’m under a routine audit, and it’ll be released. And as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released. But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income — in fact, the income — I just looked today — the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.
But that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs. When we have a country that’s doing so badly, that’s being ripped off by every single country in the world, it’s the kind of thinking that our country needs, because everybody — Lester, we have a trade deficit, with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year. You know what that is? That means — who’s negotiating these trade deals? We have people that are political hacks negotiating our trade deals.
LESTER HOLT: The IRS says an audit —
DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.
LESTER HOLT: — of your taxes — you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question: Does the public’s right to know outweigh your personal —
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit. Look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years. I know a lot of wealthy people that have never been audited. I said, “Do you get audited?” I get audited almost every year. And in a way, I should be complaining. I’m not even complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s almost become a way of life. I get audited by the IRS. But other people don’t.
I will say this. We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yeah! Yeah!
DONALD TRUMP: I will release my tax returns. And that’s against — my lawyers, they say, “Don’t do it.” I will tell you this. No — in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her emails.
LESTER HOLT: So it’s negotiable?
DONALD TRUMP: It’s not negotiable, no. Let her release the — why did she delete 33,000 emails?
LESTER HOLT: Well, I’ll let her answer that. But let me just admonish the audience one more time. There was an agreement: We did ask you to be silent, so it would be helpful for us. Secretary Clinton?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve just seen another example of bait and switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.
So you’ve got to ask yourself: Why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax. So —
DONALD TRUMP: That makes me smart.
HILLARY CLINTON: — if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.
And the financial disclosure statements, they don’t give you the tax rate. They don’t give you all the details that tax returns would. And it just seems to me that this is something that the American people deserve to see. And I have no reason to believe that he’s ever going to release his tax returns, because there’s something he’s hiding. And we’ll guess. We’ll keep guessing at what it might be that he’s hiding. But I think the question is: Were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts? Who does he owe money to? Well, he owes you the answers to that, and he should provide them.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, your response?
DR. JILL STEIN: Well, they’re both right. They should both release their information. For Donald Trump, not only his tax returns, but we really deserve to know what his business dealings are. The investigative report by Newsweek suggested that Donald Trump seems to be engaged in business relationships with some of the most corrupt and Mafioso-type characters that exist around the world. For example, one of his business deals is with a member of a family that does laundering, money laundering, for the Iranian military. He also appears to have connections in South Korea who would benefit by this policy he suggested of providing nuclear weapons or encouraging nuclear weapons to be developed by South Korea. So, Donald Trump has a number of business dealings that are — shall we say, have major conflicts of interest with US policy positions. So, the American people deserve to know what those conflicts of interest are, and, in particular, we need to know who the unsavory business partners are of Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton herself, you know, has some disclosures that are owed the American public. With her Clinton Foundation, we know, for example, that she received some many millions of dollars from the ruling prince of Bahrain in exchange, apparently — now, we don’t know for sure, but there was a suspicious sequence of events here whereby she received a major donation in close proximity to providing a major weapons deal for the ruler of Bahrain around the time of the Arab Spring, when there were massive human rights violations going on in Bahrain. We also know that Senator Clinton, or, I should say, Secretary Clinton, approved the purchase of a major portion of the US uranium supply by a Russian company around the time she was receiving major donations to the Clinton Foundation from those parties.
So, indeed, Secretary Clinton’s — half of her emails while secretary of state were declared her private business. If half of your emails while you are serving a busy job like secretary of state — if half of your emails is spent on your private business, you know, one has to ask: What are you doing on company time while you are being paid by the taxpayers of the United States of America, engaging half of your emails in your own private business? So, this represents the kind of merger of the economic and political elites that the American people are so very concerned about and are essentially rejecting. That’s why the American people are not happy with these two candidates and badly deserve not only a right to vote, but to fully know who they can vote for in this critically important election.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate. We continue our “Expanding the Debate” Democracy Now! special in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: “People Make the World Go Round” by The Stylistics, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our “Expanding the Debate” special. We are airing excerpts of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University and expanding that debate by giving Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein a chance to respond to the same questions posed by the major-party candidates. Lester Holt of NBC News.
LESTER HOLT: On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s long-standing policy on first use. Do you support the current policy? Mr. Trump, you have two minutes on that.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint. I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s. They’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries.
I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table, because you look at some of these countries — you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.
And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated, that you started, is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea. And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.
And when asked to Secretary Kerry, “Why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal?” — one of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess, for the hostages. It certainly looks that way. So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much —
LESTER HOLT: Your two minutes is expired.
DONALD TRUMP: — and they’re going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he is not a happy camper.
LESTER HOLT: All right. Mrs. Clinton —
HILLARY CLINTON: Well —
LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes.
HILLARY CLINTON: Let me — let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties, and we will honor them. It is essential that America’s word be good. And so, I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and some worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to, on behalf of myself and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.
It’s also important that we look at the entire global situation. There’s no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I’d rather deal with the other problems, having put that lid on their nuclear program, than still to be facing that.
And Donald never tells you what he would do. Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran? If he’s going to criticize a deal that has been very successful in giving us access to Iranian facilities that we never had before, then he should tell us what his alternative would be. But it’s like his plan to defeat ISIS: He says it’s a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.
So, we need to be more precise in how we talk about these issues. People around the word follow our presidential campaigns so closely, trying to get hints about what we will do. Can they rely on us? Are we going to lead the world with strength and in accordance with our values? That’s what I intend to do. I intend to be a leader of our country that people can count on, both here at home and around the world, to make decisions that will further peace and prosperity, but also stand up to bullies, whether they’re abroad or at home. We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security —
LESTER HOLT: Your two minutes is —
HILLARY CLINTON: — to be given any opportunities at all.
LESTER HOLT: — is expired.
AMY GOODMAN: And, Jill Stein, you have two minutes.
DR. JILL STEIN: So, let’s also be mindful here of Secretary Clinton’s track record. Was the invasion of Libya an example of how we lead with strength consistent with our values? It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic war than what took place in Libya, that helped strengthen ISIS, that helped release an incredible stock of — stockpile of weapons, further inflaming the crisis and the violence in the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton has said she would like to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, which basically means we are going to war with Russia, because that’s what you do when you impose a no-fly zone, is you shoot down people that are in that airspace. And remember, we have 2,000 nuclear weapons now, between us and the Russians, on hair-trigger alert. So, this is certainly a very dangerous territory, where Hillary Clinton has continued to beat the drums of war with this idea that we are showing strength and leadership, but leading us in exactly the wrong direction and a very dangerous direction.
Instead of spending a trillion dollars creating a new generation of nuclear weapons and modes of delivery, it’s time to instead change direction here and move as quickly as humanly possible towards nuclear disarmament. And instead of blaming the Russians, we need to acknowledge it was actually the Russians who tried to engage us in a nuclear disarmament process, again, several decades ago. We need to revive that proposal, take them up on it and move to nuclear disarmament — excuse me — as quickly as we possibly can, because this is sitting on an absolute catastrophe into which we could stumble at any point, particularly given the crazy circular firing squad that’s taking place now around Syria, where there are so many allies at cross-purposes with each other that any of us could be dragged into a larger, full-scale, and even nuclear, war at any moment.
And it’s important to remember, not only is this a trillion dollars which has been proposed — actually, is underway, a trillion dollars’ worth of spending over the next decade and a half, approximately, on new nuclear weapons, but let’s look at our whole war budget, which is half of our discretionary budget. Nearly half of your income taxes are going to pay for these absolutely catastrophic wars.
So we need an approach, not — a whole new approach, not one which is basically bought and paid for by the weapons industry, who is the only beneficiary here, because these regime-change wars, this militarization of our foreign policy, is not creating a more stable world. It is not benefiting democracy in the Middle East. It’s not helping women’s rights in the Middle East. It’s causing nothing but the greater proliferation of violence. In fact, the drone wars kill nine unintended victims for every intended target. And even that intended target is essentially an assassination victim, which is a violation of international law to start with. So, we need to start over. We need a foreign policy based on international law and human rights. That is the direction we need to go to create true stability and peace in the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to moderator Lester Holt.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your judgment —
DONALD TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.
LESTER HOLT: In 2002 —
DONALD TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she — frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.
LESTER HOLT: My question is, since you supported it, why is your —
DONALD TRUMP: Would you like to hear?
LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment —
DONALD TRUMP: I was against the war — wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.
LESTER HOLT: The record shows otherwise, but why is —
DONALD TRUMP: The record does not show that.
LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment any —
DONALD TRUMP: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day, and I spoke to him about it. He said, “You were totally against the war,” because he was for the war.
LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment better than —
DONALD TRUMP: And when — excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said, very strongly, to me and other people — he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, “You used to have fights with me,” because Sean was in favor of the war. And I understand that side also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody calls Sean Hannity.
And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started — I think in ’04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq. And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely — because if you read this article, there’s no doubt. But if somebody — and I’ll ask the press — if somebody would call up Sean Hannity — this was before the war started, he and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.
LESTER HOLT: My reference was to what you had said in 2002, and my question was —
DONALD TRUMP: No, no. You didn’t hear what I said.
LESTER HOLT: Why is your judgment — why is your judgment any different than Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know? I have a much better — she spent — let me tell you — she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising — you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names — oh, temperament, let’s go after — I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not know how to win.
LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?
DONALD TRUMP: Wait. The AF-of-L-CIO, the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you was totally out of control. I said, “There’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem.”
LESTER HOLT: Secretary Clinton?
HILLARY CLINTON: Whew, OK. Let’s — let’s talk about two important issues that were briefly mentioned by Donald. First, NATO. You know, NATO, as a military alliance, has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And do you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.
With respect to Iran, when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away. And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate. But it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year and a half putting together a coalition, that included Russia and China, to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran. And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program — without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition building. That’s working with other nations.
The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, “You know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water” — and start another war. That’s not good judgment.
DONALD TRUMP: That would not start a war.
HILLARY CLINTON: That is not the right temperament to be commander-in-chief, to be taunted. And the worst part —
DONALD TRUMP: No, they were taunting us.
HILLARY CLINTON: — of what we heard Donald say has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons — Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. It has been the policy of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He even said, “Well, you know, if there were nuclear war in the East Asia, well, you know, that’s fine.
DONALD TRUMP: Wrong.
HILLARY CLINTON: “You know, have a good time, folks.”
DONALD TRUMP: It’s lies.
HILLARY CLINTON: And, in fact, his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number one threat we face in the world. And it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material. So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, you have roughly two minutes.
DR. JILL STEIN: So, let me just add that, yes, nuclear material in the hands of terrorists is a very dangerous thing. This is yet another reason why nuclear power and nuclear power plants and their proliferation around the world is an intolerable threat, not only because of the nuclear weapons that can be made from their — their materials once they have been used, but also because of the inherent dangers of nuclear power, particularly in the era of climate change. In our country, we have something like 16 nuclear power plants which are located at sea level. Right now, the most recent studies, for example, by Jim Hansen, the foremost climate scientist, who has never been wrong yet in the many decades that he’s been alerting us to this crisis — he is now predicting we could see as much as nine feet of sea level rise as soon as 2050, which means that our 16 or so nuclear power plants are all going Fukushima.
So, this is just another example of why nuclear power is something that must also be urgently phased out and is part of our call for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, which doesn’t mean ending jobs, it means creating jobs and moving the workers who are in the dangerous jobs right now of nuclear power, and particularly in the fossil fuel industry, where walking into a refinery or onto a frack site or into a truck and driving some of these materials, these very explosive and toxic materials, around — to walk into a fossil fuel job is to increase your risk of dying by 700 percent from explosions and crashes and motor vehicle accidents, because these workers are not protected. So we are — we are proposing a just transition, first and foremost, for the workers and the communities that are dependent on the fossil fuel industry, on the nuclear industry and also on the weapons industry, so that we can transition to a new economy which is safe and sustainable, which creates far more jobs, many more jobs. In fact, the fastest area of job growth right now is in the solar and wind industries. In solar, in fact, jobs are being created right now at 12 times the rate of the rest of the economy. So this is a win-win, which, in fact, pays for itself by the reduction in military expenditures, because we no longer need the wars for oil, and by the improvements in our health.
So, this is how we get to true security, not only security against nuclear weapons, but security, as well, for our climate, which is the other number one threat, right up there with nuclear war. They must both be addressed. And the fact that the other two candidates have managed to duck their way around a real discussion and a real examination of these catastrophic wars and this catastrophic nuclear weapons reality that we face right now, that they cannot put these issues on the table, is another reason why it’s really critical for us to stand up and insist on the open debates that the American people are clamoring for. You can go to our website, Jill2016.com, to join our campaign for open debates.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, joining here on Democracy Now! the debate, as we expand the debate, the first presidential debate at Hofstra University with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Democracy Now! breaking the sound barrier, as is our tradition, by inviting the major third-party candidates in. We’ll be back with this debate in a moment.
AMY GOODMAN: “Wake Up Everybody” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we return to our “Expanding the Debate” special. We break the sound barrier by bringing you the first debate, the presidential debate held at Hofstra University, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, stop the tape after they have each of their two minutes, and expand it with the major third-party candidates. We are here with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. We invited the Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, but Jill Stein accepted, and she is responding to the same questions posed to the major-party candidates. Back to Lester Holt.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?
DONALD TRUMP: She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.
LESTER HOLT: The quote was: “I just don’t think she has the presidential look.”
DONALD TRUMP: You have — wait a — wait a minute, Lester. You asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?
You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals. You have to be able to negotiate — that’s right — with Japan, with Saudi Arabia. I mean, can you imagine, we’re defending Saudi Arabia? And with all of the money they have, we’re defending them, and they’re not paying? All you have to do is speak to them. Wait. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don’t believe that Hillary has the stamina.
LESTER HOLT: Let’s let her respond.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.
DONALD TRUMP: The world — let me tell you. Let me tell you. Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. We have made so many bad deals during the last — so she’s got experience, that I agree. But it’s bad, bad experience. Whether it’s the Iran deal that you’re so in love with, where we gave them $150 billion back — whether it’s the Iran deal, whether it’s anything you can — you almost can’t name a good deal. I agree. She’s got experience, but it’s bad experience. And this country can’t afford to have another four years of that kind of experience.
LESTER HOLT: We are at the — we are at the final question.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester, is —
LESTER HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.
HILLARY CLINTON: — you know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said —
DONALD TRUMP: I never said that.
HILLARY CLINTON: — women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
DONALD TRUMP: Didn’t say that.
HILLARY CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.
DONALD TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
HILLARY CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.
DONALD TRUMP: Where did you find this?
HILLARY CLINTON: And she has become a US citizen, and you can bet —
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, really?
HILLARY CLINTON: — she’s going to vote this November.
DONALD TRUMP: OK. OK, good. Let me just tell you. Let me just tell you.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, could we just take 10 seconds, and then we’re going to have the final question?
DONALD TRUMP: You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said — somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her. But you want to know the truth? I was going to say something —
LESTER HOLT: Please, very quickly.
DONALD TRUMP: — extremely rough to Hillary, to her family. And I said to myself, “I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.” But she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue. They’re untrue, and they’re misrepresentations. And I will tell you this, Lester: It’s not nice. And I don’t — I don’t deserve that. But it’s certainly not a nice thing that she’s done. It’s hundreds of millions of ads. And the only gratifying thing is I saw the polls come in today, and with all of that money —
LESTER HOLT: We have to move on to the final question.
DONALD TRUMP: — over $200 million is spent, and I’m either winning or tied. And I’ve spent practically nothing.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Stein, your response?
DR. JILL STEIN: More heat than light, I’m afraid to say, throughout much of this so-called debate between the two corporate candidates. In this country, you know, we have two major political parties, which are, in fact, no longer the major voting bloc. The largest voting bloc has repudiated both the Democratic and Republican parties, because, in fact, Americans are tired of being thrown under the bus. They are tired of this rigged economy, and they are tired of the rigged political system that has created this economy. And they are also rejecting, at unprecedented levels, the two candidates that are being forced down their throats as the most disliked and untrusted candidates in our history.
I am the only candidate in this race who is not taking money from lobbyists, from corporations, from — I do not have a super PAC to coordinate with or not. I’m the one candidate that actually has the freedom to stand up for what the American people are clamoring for. That means an emergency jobs program, which will solve the emergency of climate change. It means bailing out the students, like they bailed out Wall Street, the crooks on Wall Street who crashed the economy. It’s time to bail out the victims. And let me just mention about that. There are 43 million young people right now, and not-so-young people, Gen Xers and on into middle age and well beyond, who are trapped into student loan debt, because once you get in, you cannot get out. Very few get out, actually, in the current economy that we have of low-wage, part-time and temporary jobs. So people get stuck in student loan debt.
But it turns out that 43 million is actually a winning plurality of the vote in a three-way race. So when people say, “Oh, resistance is futile. Why even bother? Surely, you know, you’re wasting your time,” you know, that is part of the propaganda to keep us locked in this system. In the words of Alice Walker, “The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with.” We do have the power. It’s time to stand up and use it. And just by students coming out, people who are carrying student loan debt coming out, to cancel that debt, and voting Green in 2016, we actually have the power to turn this election on its head.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Lester Holt for the final question of the debate.
LESTER HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight: Are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election. And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.
LESTER HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, the same question: Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?
DONALD TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country. The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button — they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps, worse than that, it was corruption. But these people that we were going to deport, for good reason, ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.
LESTER HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?
DONALD TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is: If she wins, I will absolutely support her.
AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein, will you accept the outcome of the election?
DR. JILL STEIN: Well, this is a very wounded democracy. If there is evidence of voter fraud, we will challenge it, and we will bring it to court, as the Greens have led the way in doing before. But, you know, I think our job here is not to surrender to a very corrupt system, whichever one of these candidates wins. Donald Trump has had $4 billion worth of free prime-time media. Hillary Clinton has had $2 billion worth of free prime-time media. We’ve had essentially zip. And as a non-corporate campaign, we don’t have big bucks to put the word out, but we are doing well in the polls relative to how other non-corporate third-party candidates have done.
So, this is the time for us to stand up. In this election, we are not just deciding what kind of a world we will have, but whether we will have a world or not going forward, looking at the climate change that’s barreling down on us, the threat of nuclear weapons and these massive, expanding wars, for which there is no end in sight under both Democrats and Republicans, and specifically Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is the time for us to stand up for the future we deserve, to reject the lesser evil and to fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, remembering that we do have the votes if we stand up with the courage of our convictions.
AMY GOODMAN: And that’s Jill Stein of the Green Party, along with Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party, and Donald Trump, Republican Party. That does it for our “Expanding the Debate” special. Watch the two — the full two-hour special at democracynow.org. And also watch our debate night roundtable with Eddie Glaude, Allan Nairn, Ramzi Kassem, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Kshama Sawant and Isabel Garcia at democracynow.org.