Trump claims Iran will 'absolutely' get the bomb on an otherwise Israel-free night

The Jewish state failed to warrant a mention at all, meaning a quiet night overall once again for Israel-policy watchers.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 20, 2016 06:55

The final Presidential debate was marked by a series of interruptions as the candidates clashed in a fiery showdown

The final Presidential debate was marked by a series of interruptions as the candidates clashed in a fiery showdown

 
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In the third and final presidential debate, held early Thursday morning Israel time, foreign policy was set up to take a major role in the proceedings.

However, in the Las Vegas face-off between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, for those with Israel high on their agendas it was once again a quiet night.

While the two candidates sparred fitfully throughout the 90 minutes over ISIS, Syria and Russia, Israel-watchers would have focused as Donald Trump brought Iran briefly into the spotlight, claiming that the Islamic republic had "outmaneuvered" the US in the Middle East, especially in Iraq.

For context, after saying that fighting ISIS would be his most important objective in the region, Trump claimed that the ongoing operation to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from the terror group was timed to benefit his rival, despite Secretary Clinton not currently holding a position in the administration, and thereby able to take credit.

Trump added that not only would Iran become the main benefactor of a liberated Iraq, but that it would "absolutely" acquire nuclear weapons thanks to the Iran deal.

The comment on the JCPOA between Iran and the P5+1 nations, which he has criticized repeatedly but said he would not repeal, was not followed up on either by Clinton or moderator Chris Wallace, meaning Trump did not clarify when he expected Iran to acquire the bomb, or why he felt that the US would fail to prevent this, presumably even under his leadership.

While she did not respond to the comment in this round, in the previous two debates Clinton had stood behind the agreement, which she has claimed is effective in preventing Iran from getting the bomb.

If Iran's brief time in the spotlight was fleeting, the Jewish state failed to warrant a single mention all evening, resulting in a quiet night overall, once again, for Israel-policy watchers.

ELECTION OUTCOME

In a comment which has taken the post-debate spotlight, Trump suggested he might reject the outcome of the Nov. 8 US presidential election if he loses, a possibility Clinton called "horrifying."

Trump said he would wait to decide whether the outcome was legitimate. "I will tell you at the time, I will keep you in suspense," he said.

Clinton said she was "appalled" by Trump's stance.

"Let's be clear about what he is saying and what that means: He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy and I for one am appalled that someone who is the nominee for one of our two major parties would take that position," she said.

In a fiery debate that centered more on policy than the earlier showdowns, Trump accused Clinton's campaign of orchestrating a series of accusations by women who said the businessman made unwanted sexual advances.

Trump said all of the stories were "totally false" and suggested Clinton was behind the charges. He called her campaign "sleazy" and said, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do, nobody."

Clinton said the women came forward after Trump said in the last debate he had never made unwanted advances on women. In a 2005 video, Trump was recorded bragging about groping women against their will.

"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 who doesn't know what that feels like," said Clinton, the first woman to win the nomination of a major U.S. political party.


She cited other minorities she said Trump had maligned.

"This is a pattern. A pattern of divisiveness, of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is," she said.

Trump entered the debate hoping to reverse his fading momentum in an election that opinion polls show is tilting away from him. The New York businessman has raised concerns by claiming the election will be rigged against him, and has urged supporters to patrol polling places in inner cities to prevent voter fraud.

The two presidential rivals had a tough but issues-based exchanges on abortion, gun rights and immigration during the 90-minute showdown, but occasionally reacted angrily.

Clinton said she would raise taxes on the wealthy to help fund the U.S. government's Social Security retirement program, but suggested Trump might try to find a way out of paying the higher taxes.

"Such a nasty woman," Trump said.

PUTIN'S PUPPET?

Trump, 70, and Clinton, 68, battled sharply over the influence of Vladimir Putin, with Clinton calling Trump the Russian president's puppet and Trump charging Putin had repeatedly outsmarted Clinton.

Clinton said Trump had refused to condemn Putin and Russia for recent cyber attacks.

"He'd rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence officials that are sworn to protect us," Clinton said.

US intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security have said the Russian leadership was responsible for recent cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the leaking of stolen emails.

Trump rejected the idea that he was close with Putin, but suggested he would have a better relationship with Russia's leader than Clinton.

"He said nice things about me," Trump said. "He has no respect for her, he has no respect for our president and I'll tell you what, we're in very serious trouble."

Clinton responded: "Well that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States."

"No, you're the puppet," Trump said. "Putin has outsmarted her and Obama every single step of the way," he said in a reference to U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat like Clinton.

Clinton also said Trump had been "cavalier" about nuclear weapons and should not be trusted with the nuclear codes.

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