In the tense 90-minute exchange at Washington University in St. Louis, the Republican nominee laid out his attacks against Clinton in strikingly personal terms.
Trump set the tone by inviting three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to the debate as his guests, and he accused the Democratic nominee of serving as an enabler to her husband.
“Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously,” Trump charged, calling her “disgraceful” for commenting on a video leaked Friday in which the real estate mogul can be heard boasting about groping women without their permission.
“I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and she 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,” Trump said.
Trump was himself accused of sexual assault on multiple occasions, and spoke in the 2005 "Access Hollywood" recording that has caused some Republican leaders to abandon his campaign of grabbing women he found attractive "by the pussy." He also previously expressed sympathy for the “terrible times” Clinton experienced publicly during her husband’s impeachment trial and called Bill Clinton’s accusers an “unattractive,” unconvincing group.
On the debate stage, Trump took the opposite tack. The Republican nominee repeatedly said that Bill Clinton was the figure most "abusive to women" in the history of U.S. politics, and that his wife deserved blame for standing by him.
Shame was a topic invoked repeatedly by the Republican nominee, who also said Clinton should be “ashamed” for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
“The thing you should be apologizing for are the 33,000 e-mails that you deleted,” Trump said, calling her actions a “disgrace.”
He promised to make good on the rallying cry of "lock her up" that rang out through Quicken Loans arena during July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland if elected, telling her she would "be in jail" if was elected president.
The real estate tycoon cast his opponent as a divisive, hateful individual who personally harbored ill-will towards Americans.
Knocking Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for endorsing Clinton after hacked emails were published showing that Democratic National Committee staffers had mocked his campaign, Trump said, “I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil.”
As the debate drew to a close, Clinton was asked about her comment dismissing half of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” who were xenophobic, misogynistic and racist. The Democratic nominee, who previously apologized for characterizing “half" of Trump's supporters that way, said her issue was with Trump and his “hateful and divisive campaign,” not his supporters. Trump, she said, ran his campaign on “insults” and “very brutal kinds of comments” about Americans.
The Republican nominee tried to flip the remarks back on Clinton, accusing her of having “tremendous hatred.”
“We have a divided nation because people like her, and believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart,” Trump said. “And when she said deplorables, she meant it.”
He did manage to come up with one positive attribute about his Democratic opponent in the final moments of the event.
After both candidates were asked by an audience member to name one trait they admired in each other, Trump said, "I will say this about Hillary. She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up."