Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

What the fuck just happened? Second Presidential Debate

Holy cow. The Donald has upped The Donald ante to heinous proportions. Hannah Dunleavy charts the prowling, lurking and downright lunacy of last night’s debate.

Illustration by Louise Boulter

Illustration by Louise Boulter.


Oh balls, my TV won’t turn on. This is a conspiracy to stop me… oh wait, it’s OK.


I’m going with Sky because I can’t be bothered to scroll down to another channel. That’s the whole problem of televised politics right there. Tonight’s moderators are CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz.


Everyone’s shaking hands. Melania Trump is wearing something very pink. Like crazy pink. I feel a bit nervous. I’ve just planned a holiday to America next year. I hope it’s still there.


Donald Trump’s held an impromptu pre-debate press conference which I haven’t time to go into here. But read it (and weep) if you get a chance.


OK, I’ve grabbed a pussy. Let’s have it.

Hannah and Joan2.00am

They’re on. Haha, no one wanted to be the first one to sit down. I’m pretty sure there’s a proven psychology to it, but when it’s this obvious I’m equally sure it has the opposite effect.


Oh yeah, this is a town hall event so the questions are from the audience. Clinton’s answering on education. It’s a bit wishy washy, to be honest.


Oh, sweet joy, Trump holds the mic funny. This is going to be great for at least a few minutes. He looks like he’s about to say, “I’m Donald and I’m going to sing When I Ruled the World.

Photo: BBC.

Photo: BBC.

Man, I wish that was what was actually happening. He sounds like he’s trying very hard not to start shouting. Or on that drug they put the kids on in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This cannot last.


Trump’s obviously been asked about that tape where he talks about chasing married women and grabbing pussy. He’s played the Trump trump: “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” Somewhere out there a feminist fairy dies.

He’s dismissing it as “locker room talk” and points out that Isis does much worse and then goes on about people nicking American jobs. It’s the sort of whataboutery that makes Jack the Ripper the ideal babysitter if the only other person free is Pol Pot.


Clinton’s just said he’s not fit to be commander in chief. She’s tearing him a new one in a nicely restrained manner and he’s pacing the floor, rather than sitting back in the chair, which Clinton did when she wasn’t talking. And is what the chair is presumably for. I can’t work out if this is part of a strategy to be on camera more or an active attempt to intimidate her. Or just a result of the fact that he can’t sit still. Jeez, that Dyziplen wears off quick.

Photo: BBC.

Photo: BBC.


Trump says that all Clinton’s words are just words. Which, of course, they are. Much like the words he’s speaking today. It’s the sort of bullshit that has the stink of Farage on it, so I’m guessing it is his. And now Trump embarks on a diatribe. Cooper calls him on it and Trump has a little whinge that “it’s not fair”.


Back to the tapes. Trump says Bill Clinton was worse. And he repeats a previous statement that no one in the history of American politics has ever treated women as badly as Bill did. (PS: EXCEPT THE ONES THAT KEPT THEM AS SLAVES.) He’s brought along a woman who he says was raped at 12 by a man Clinton defended. This is genuinely horrible stuff. For all involved.


Somehow we’re back to Obama’s fucking birth certificate. Clinton quotes Michelle Obama; Trump responds by saying the First Lady doesn’t even like her. So there. He’s also giving her stick for stuff that happened eight years ago, while arguing that his “locker room chat” was 10 years ago so doesn’t count.

“Trump’s complaining he is getting picked on. He seems to genuinely fail to see that the only reason he’s being told off for wandering off topic or interrupting is because he’s the only one doing it.”

Trump’s actually talking to, or rather at, Clinton rather than addressing the audience or the camera. I’m thinking it’s a metaphor for his whole campaign. And sort of wishing I’d had a pee before this started.


Jesus, Trump’s saying that if he gets into power he’s going to take action about those emails. He’s just threatened Clinton with a special prosecution. This is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Genuinely. And I watch a lot of politics. He’s actually strutting and a section of the audience is chastised for cheering. I’m not sure they need telling off as much as holy water sprinkling over them, but there you have it. America.


Clinton is answering about emails again and he’s pacing in the background. You could write a bloody thesis on the body language here. The only positive thing about this is I will get to see Alec Baldwin doing it next week.


He’s shouting. Who had 2.27?


Trump’s been told to allow Clinton the opportunity to respond three times in one minute. And he’s chastised the moderators. He should have a sit down. No really, he should have a fucking sit down.


A question on Obamacare and Trump tries to answer it when it’s not his turn. Clinton goes first (because he’s a gentleman!) and he ups the intimidation ante. Jesus, look at him.


Trump’s plan on Obamacare is to replace it with something less expensive. I’m sure if there was some more to the plan than that, we could all get behind it. Maybe the not sitting down is to prove he has “stam-i-na”?


The moderator’s poked a hole in Trump’s plan. He didn’t like it. Oh, we’re onto “the Muslims”. *adopts crash position*


Trump’s quite clear on this. It’s the Muslims’ fault. Everything. He’s been asked about the plan to ban Muslims entering the US so he’s brought up the Iraq War. It’s like clockwork. Oooh, the moderator’s picked him up on it.

He’s complaining he is getting picked on. He seems to genuinely fail to see that the only reason he’s being told off for wandering off topic or interrupting is because he’s the only one doing it. It’s like sparking up a fag in intensive care and then complaining that no one’s telling that guy in a coma to stop smoking too.


Clinton’s wondering, much like many of us, how exactly you can tell someone’s religion when they enter a country. Two words Hills, BIBLE QUIZ. I write the Standard Issue quizzes and I got a B in my GCSE RE so I’m available. Oh wait, scrap that, it’s a fucking ludicrous idea. Let’s see what Trump thinks is the solution. And see which is crazier. It’s all to play for.


Trump’s going to force countries to take back people America doesn’t want. Some sort of airdrop I’m thinking. (You can have that one Donald, I’m on fire tonight.)


Question from the great American public: “Is it OK to be two-faced?” to Clinton. Not at all loaded. She’s skirting the issue by talking about the film Lincoln. Which, while we’re on it, I didn’t like. I KNOW, I was surprised too. OK, this is Wikileaks stuff. Clinton thinks Putin is trying to influence the election.

Trump’s dismissing it as ‘locker room talk’ and points out that Isis does much worse. It’s the sort of whataboutery that makes Jack the Ripper the ideal babysitter if the only other person free is Pol Pot.


Trump denies all links to Putin and says he knows nothing about the running of Russia. That’s someone running for president, saying that. As a selling point. Hahahahahahaha.


Hahahahahahahaha. *throws up into bucket*


Trump is so totally going to release his tax return when the audit is finished. I wonder if it’s going to be written by the same guy that wrote the doctor’s note. Mr Trump’s taxes are the healthiest ever I’ve ever seen on anyone ever running for President. Like ever. Yours, A N Accountant MD.


Chyna! Mark it off your bingo cards.


That’s three times he’s mentioned Bernie Sanders. Sanders will now appear like the Candyman and cause carnage. Hopefully.


Interruption. Telling off.


Trump’s making some sort of upward gun gesture (although I’m not at all suggesting it’s a gun, I just can’t think of any other way to describe it) while Clinton is talking and gets denied a response because he’s already had ages. I’m all for the moderation of this debate.


We’re back on Russia and whatever the hell is unfolding in Syria. This is the best Clinton’s sounded all evening. Trump barely lets her finish. He’s doing a lot of that downward ‘OK in diving’ gesture that whenever I mention it no one else seems to have noticed.


He’s talking about Iran, Russia and Assad. Oooooh, he’s had the question repeated to him by Raddatz because he’s gone way off topic. I wish I had some sort of foam finger.


Clinton’s talking specifics about Iraq here. Like actual specifics. She’s looking pretty presidential.


Trump deals with the question of whether he will be a good president for all Americans by talking about “our people” and then “the Hispanics” and “the African Americans”. I would say, that’s everything you need to know about Trump’s America right there, but it’s worth mentioning that he tries the “it can’t get worse” tactic again. Which is frankly desperate. And, just to be clear, in my experience, when people say, “it can’t get worse” it invariably does.

“Trump’s laying out his plan to revive the US’s energy markets. You know, really grabbing Mother Nature by the pussy.”


Boom! Clinton brings out the first “I heard about a mother who…” story. David Cameron-tastic.


Trump says if Clinton is elected it would be another four years of Barack Obama. Which sounds awesome.


Cooper’s brought up the 3am Twitter storm, when Trump was imagining sex tapes and badmouthing women. Trump still believes the problem people have with it is the timing and tries to sell it in a “at least I’m up at 3am” way. Which seems like the words of a madman and like something a committee of experts would come up with. (Which is quite often the case, to be honest.)


He’s also “not unproud” of it, which stretches not just the use but the very meaning of the language. But more importantly, there’s a frankly extraordinary moment, in which he says that he was going to say something about Clinton, then says what the thing is, and then says “but I didn’t say it.” THROUGH. THE. LOOKING. GLASS,


These moderators are earning their money tonight. We’re moving on to selecting supreme court justices. I’m a bit clueless on this, so I’m popping for that wee I’ve been holding onto for an hour. Trump will probably do a handstand while I’m gone.


I know, quick right? Yes, I washed my hands. Trump’s talking about what judges he’ll appoint. I think he should stick with his anti-establishment principles and appoint a reality TV one. Or – compulsory Arrested Development reference – Judge Reinhold.


They’re onto energy now. Trump’s said “that’s a good question” again. I wonder if he says that every time he’s asked a question. (“Do you take Ivana/Maria/Melania to be your lawful wedded wife?” “That’s a good question. A very good question.”) That game will amuse me next time I’m stuck in traffic. Trump’s laying out his plan to revive the US’s energy markets. You know, really grabbing Mother Nature by the pussy.


A bonus question. Ah, this guy’s only gone and asked them to say one positive thing about the other. Clinton’s said she respects his children and their support for him, which isn’t strictly positive about Trump, but he takes it as a compliment anyway.

I’d have said his perseverance with that hairstyle. Or his nonchalant attitude to the size of his hands. He says he respects her because she’s a fighter and it’s the only thing he’s said all evening I believe. (Maybe this is how it starts?)


It all ends with a handshake. Raddatz won that for me tonight. Until the next time… I’ll buy the Rennie.

Check out WTFJH in the first Presidential debate here.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.