Two presidential debates down, one to go — and wow, tonight was a doozy of a debate for Republican nominee Donald Trump. This weekend just might have been the worst weekend of Trump's presidential run — tonight's debate included — and there's still 29 very long days to go until ballots are cast. The anticipation for Sunday night's debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, had reached a fever pitch as America waited to hear exactly what Trump had to say for himself — live, without handlers and with a mic that worked — about his repugnant recording that leaked Friday. The transcript of Donald Trump's closing statement from Sunday night's debate was shockingly genuine, positive, and complimentary of his opponent.
There was plenty of room for Trump to trip over himself — both politically and quite literally on stage: Sunday night was a town hall style debate, meaning that both Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton could freely move about the debate stage. While the format may appear more relaxed than say, slumping over a podium for 90 minutes, the moderators, audience members, and the issues discussed were anything but casual. By the end of the night, it was a nice change of pace with the last question of the night: Could they "name one positive thing that they respect about one another?" Trump's response was actually, dare I say it — nice.
Clinton was the first to respond to the final question of the night, and she immediately praised Trump's children, saying that she respects them: "They are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald." After one of the most highly anticipated nights of this campaign season, Trump's remarks were probably the most unexpected words that could have come out of his mouth. Trump responded: "Well, I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment."
But of course, Trump couldn't resist adding in a playground jab at his opponent with his immediate follow up: "I don't know if it was meant to be a compliment, but it is a great — I'm very proud of my children: They've done a wonderful job and they're wonderful, wonderful kids — so I consider that a compliment."
The full transcript of Trump's closing statement is below:
Well, I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment. I don't know if it was meant to be a compliment, but it is a great — I'm very proud of my children: They've done a wonderful job and they're wonderful, wonderful kids — so I consider that a compliment.
I will say this about Hillary: She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She's a fighter. I disagree with much of what she's fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn't quit and she doesn't give up — and I consider that to be a very good trait.
You could have knocked the debate audience over with a feather, because those are the kindest, most positive words about Clinton — the very same woman Trump dubbed "Crooked Hillary" on Twitter — he's said this entire campaign. Maybe Trump has turned a new leaf and will finish his campaign on a positive high note — on second thought, don't hold your breath.