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14 WTF Moments From the Off-the-Rails Second U.S. Presidential Debate

Here are the most WTF moments from the most WTF debate of the most WTF election in American history.

Here are the most WTF moments from the most WTF debate of the most WTF election in American history.

The first time Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated, two weeks ago, 84 million people tuned in, making it the most watched presidential debate in American history. Sunday evening’s rematch at Washington University in St. Louis, though, might just have been the most highly anticipated in American history.

Two days before it was set to take place, a 2005 tape surfaced on which Donald Trump can be heard saying he can sexually assault women at will because he’s a celebrity. The story exploded. As moderator Martha Raddatz noted during the debate, it quickly became the most talked about story of the 2016 election – and as it did, droves of Republican politicians disavowed and distanced themselves from their party’s nominee.

An embattled Trump tried to change the narrative, calling a press conference an hour-and-a-half before he took the debate stage with three women who have accused Bill Clinton of harassment and assault, and one whose rapist Hillary Clinton was appointed to defend in the 1970s. (Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton were given a front-row seat at the debate.)

The first question of the evening got right to the heart of the issue for many of the Republicans and Democrats who have listened to that tape: “Do you feel you’re modeling appropriate and positive behaviour for today’s youth?” Patrice Brock, an undecided Missouri voter, asked. From there, it was off to the races – and by “races,” we mean long, Trumpian diatribes that made no sense from a visibly agitated GOP nominee who often lurked behind his opponent like a creeper.

Here are the most WTF moments from the most WTF debate of the most WTF election in U.S. history.

On the “Trump tape”
Moderator Anderson Cooper: “You called what you said locker room banter – kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.”
Trump: “I don’t think you understood. This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. … But this is locker room talk. When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have frankly drowning people in steel cages, wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, so many bad things happening. We haven’t seen anything like this. The carnage all over the world. Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS. And they look at our country and see what’s going on. Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.”

On Trump’s fitness to serve
Clinton: “With prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them [on] politics, policies, principles. But I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different … because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to ten. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms. So yes, this is who Donald Trump is. But it’s not only women, and it’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president.”

On whether Trump has ever non-consensually grabbed a woman “by the pussy”
Cooper: “Have you ever done those things?”
Trump: “No, I have not. I will tell you, that I’m going the make our country safe. We’re going to have borders in our country, which we don’t know. People are pouring into our country and coming in from the Middle East and other places.”

On whether Trump has changed since the tape came out
Raddatz: “When you walked off that bus [where the recording was captured] at age 59, were you a different man, or did that behaviour continue until just recently?”
Trump: “I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country. And certainly, I’m not proud of it but that was something that happened. If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse, mine are words, his was action. This is what he has done to women. Never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women, so you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman, at 12 years old, was raped at 12. Her client she represented got him off, and she’s seen laughing at the girl who was raped. She is here with us tonight, so, don’t tell me about words. … And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.”

On Trump’s comments about Bill Clinton being an abuser of women
Clinton: “When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: ‘When they go low, you go high.'”
Trump: “And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary. So, you talk about friend – go back and take a look at those commercials. A race where you lost fair and square. Unlike the Bernie Sanders race, where you won, but not fair and square, in my opinion. All you have to do is take a look at Wikileaks and see what they say about Sanders, and see what Wasserman-Schultz had in mind. Never had a chance. I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil, but when you talk about apology, I think the one you should really be apologising for, and this thing you should be apologising for, are the 33,000 e-mails that you deleted and that you acid-washed, and then the two boxes of e-mails and other things last week taken from an office and are now missing.”

On Trump’s plans for Clinton if he becomes president
Trump: “I’ll tell you what, I didn’t think I’d say this, and I’m going to say it, and hate to say it: If I win, I’m going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception. Never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor. When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails and you get a subpoena and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then acid-wash them or bleach them. A very expensive process, so we’re going to get a special prosecutor, because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace, and honestly, you ought to be ashamed.”

On temperament
Clinton: “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.”
Trump: “Because you’d be in jail.”

On Ken
Clinton: “Donald, I know you’re into big diversion tonight – anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you.”
Cooper: “We have a question from Ken, about health care.”
Trump, to Cooper: “I’d like to know, why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails?”
Cooper: “Ken has a question.”
Trump: “Nice: one on three.”

On increasing Islamophobia
Trump: “You’re right about Islamophobia [increasing], and that’s a shame. One thing we have to do is we have to make sure that, because there is a problem, whether we like it or not – and we could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not – there is a problem, and we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.”

On Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches
Cooper: “Is it OK for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance?”
Clinton: “Right, as I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln – and after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called Lincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. It was principled and strategic. I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want to do.”
Trump: “She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln. That’s one that I haven’t – OK, Honest Abe never lied. That’s the good thing. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That’s a big, big difference – we’re talking about some difference.”

On Vladimir Putin, possible electoral meddling and Trump’s tax returns
Clinton: “We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election, and, believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump. Now, maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons. But we deserve answers. We should demand that Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships.”
Trump: “I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin. I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians – she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia and the reason is because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I have no businesses, I have no loans from Russia.”

On how the Constitution works, and what senators do
Clinton: “I’ve been in favor of getting rid of carried interest for years, starting when I was a senator from New York.”
Trump: “Why didn’t you do it? Why didn’t you do it?”
Clinton: “Because I was a senator with a Republican president.”
Trump: “You could have done it if you were an effective senator. … But you were not an effective senator.”
Clinton: “Under our Constitution, presidents have something called ‘veto power.'”

On Mike Pence’s assertion that the U.S. should deploy troops to Syria
Trump: “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”
Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate.”
Trump: “I think we have to knock out ISIS. Right now Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people who want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria; Syria is Russia and Iran, who she made strong, and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and very rich nation very, very quickly. Very, very quickly. I believe we have to get ISIS.”

On late-night tweeting
Cooper: “In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., including one that told people to ‘check out’ a sex tape. Is that discipline?”
Trump: “It wasn’t ‘check out sex tape.’ It was just take a look at the person she built up to be this wonderful Girl Scout who was no Girl Scout. Just so you understand, when she said 3:00 in the morning, take a look at Benghazi. She said, ‘Who is going to answer the call at 3:00 in the morning?’ Guess what, she didn’t answer, because when Ambassador Stevens – 600 times, she said she was awake at 3:00 in the morning, and she also sent a tweet out at 3:00 in the morning, but I won’t even mention that, but she said she’ll be awake. The famous thing: We’re going to answer a call at 3:00 in the morning. Guess what happened? Ambassador Stevens, Ambassador Stevens sent 600 requests for help, and the only one she talked to was Sidney Blumenthal who’s her friend and not a good guy, by the way. So, you know, she shouldn’t be talking about that. Now, tweeting happens to be a modern form of communication. You can like it or not like it. I have, between Facebook and Twitter, almost 25 million people. It’s a very effective way of communication. You can put it down, but it’s a very effective form of communication. I’m not un-proud of it, to be honest with you.”