The second presidential debate in St. Louis was filled with more low moments than high marks, courtesy of the Republican candidate’s religious discrimination and unprecedented public threat to imprison Democratic nominee without due process. However, the lowest point for Republican nominee Donald Trump was entirely self-inflicted, as he relentlessly stalked Democratic Hillary Clinton around the stage, hovering closely over her shoulder at virtually every turn when he wasn’t grabbing a chair and emoting heavily while the next President of the United States had her turn to speak all night long.
At that point in the debate, a Professor at City University of New York – Brooklyn, who is the award winning author of “This Muslim American Life & How Does It Feel To Be a Problem” broke Twitter with his sharp wit:
I'm a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri. #debate
— Moustafa Bayoumi (@BayoumiMoustafa) October 10, 2016
Trump often says that Muslim-Americans need to pro-actively report dangerous individuals if they spot them, and Professor Bayoumi’s tweet turned the tables deliciously.
Even Trump’s most fervent supporters like the UK’s Mr. Brexit, the disingenuous politician Nile Farage could say little more than this to NBC News, “I thought he was like a big silverback gorilla, prowling the studio.”
Presidential debates are typically judged in three main areas by pundits and voters: policy, presentation and body language.
The third category is the most nebulous, and by far the most on display in the town hall debate format, where the candidates are expected to range about the stage to interact with the regular people asking the questions. Al Gore was deeply criticized for this moment in the 2000 town hall debate, just for walking up to George W. Bush while he was answering a question.
The struggling Republican nominee spent most of the night actively chasing the Democratic nominee during her times to answer and that fact escaped nobody. “Then there was Trump, prowling the blue-carpeted stage like a predator, brooding,” said The Guardian, “scowling, skulking, wagging his finger at Clinton, exploding with rage and misogynistic bullying.”
It was ultimately Professor Bayoumi’s tweet that broke the internet, because to Muslim-Americans, the Republican nominee is already a tormentor in chief. Trump’s “extreme vetting” and calls for racial profiling proved the author’s latest journal piece correct too: How we all learned the wrong lessons from 9/11.
For the record, a Muslim-American did in fact turn in someone suspicious to the FBI. The Orlando shooter was turned in by one of his Muslim friends for making outrageous threats.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wisely pointed out that America was founded on religious freedom by people like the Puritans in Massachusetts or the Quakers in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, none of that won her freedom from the orange-faced, sniffling and lying Republican candidate hovering over her shoulder at virtually every turn during the debate.
Fortunately, Clinton’s performance in last night’s debate – despite the harassing physical presence of Trump — showed off the Democratic nominee’s fortitude and why she is ready to be the first female President of the United States — while Trump exposed himself as a dangerous bully for all to see.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition