Reprinted from The Nation
Donald Trump did everything he possibly could to throw Hillary Clinton off her game.
The Republican nominee for president came to bully his Democratic opponent and the moderator of the first debate of the fall campaign. He interrupted Clinton's remarks constantly, aggressively, and obnoxiously. He sneered and shrugged and sniffled. He grimaced and grumbled. And then he interrupted some more.
There were points early in the 90-minute exchange when the debate appeared to be headed the way of the Republican forums that saw Trump roll over all those governors and senators on his way to the party nomination. Trump may not have spent much time preparing for the debate, but he was clearly prepared to badger his way to the bully pulpit from which he seeks to dominate every political interaction.
Then, as Trump was racing through an economic rant, moderator Lester Holt finally said: "Let me let Secretary Clinton get in here."
Clinton calmly looked away from Trump and toward the tens of millions of American people who were watching the debate and offered a sobering history lesson.
"Well," she said, "let's stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago. We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.
"In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, 'Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.' Well, it did collapse."
Trump knew he was in trouble.
"That's called business, by the way," the billionaire said, interrupting once more.