The release of the video dominated campaign coverage throughout the weekend and set the tone for Sunday night’s debate in St. Louis, where Trump was confronted by co-moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN.
Anderson Cooper: "You called what you said 'locker room banter.' You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?"
Donald Trump: "No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk."
Trump’s campaign brought three women to the debate who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual crimes, including Juanita Broaddrick, who alleges she was raped by Bill Clinton nearly 40 years ago and that Hillary Clinton worked to cover it up. Clinton did not directly address those charges. She said the video released Friday showed the real Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton: "What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is."
Meanwhile, Donald Trump confronted Hillary Clinton over tens of thousands of emails deleted from private email servers she maintained during her time as secretary of state. Trump said Clinton would "be in jail" if he wins the presidency.
Donald Trump: "If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it. And we’re going to have a special prosecutor."
During the 90-minute debate, Clinton and Trump fielded questions about the Affordable Care Act, potential Supreme Court nominees, Islamophobia and Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country, income taxes, Syria’s civil war, and energy policies. Global warming was mentioned only once, in passing, by Hillary Clinton. There was no discussion of police killings of people of color or the Black Lives Matter movement. Third-party candidates, including Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein, were excluded from the debate stage under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. But after headlines, Democracy Now! will be expanding the debate: We’ll pause the tape after questions answered by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to get response from Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein.