Ahead of Monday night’s much-anticipated presidential cage match, the first campaign debate actually has already occurred. It wasn’t on TV, so nobody saw it. Therefore, as a public service, The Buffalo News herein prints the transcript in its entirety:
Moderator: With continued terror attacks, it’s clearer than ever that a cool head in the Oval Office is essential in waging war against ISIS and conducting foreign policy in general. How would you handle this?
Donald Trump I: They have some (oil fields) in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s--- out of ’em. I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. Business Insider, 11/13/15
Donald Trump II: Unlike my opponent, my foreign policy will emphasize diplomacy, not destruction. Time.com, 9/7/16
Moderator: But specifically on ISIS, do you have a plan, or would you rely on military strategists?
Donald Trump I: I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me. … We’re gonna beat ISIS very, very quickly, folks. It’s gonna be fast. I have a great plan. It’s going to be great. Fort Dodge, Iowa, speech, 11/12/15; and Waterbury, Conn., rally, 4/23/16
Donald Trump II: We are going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction: They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS. We have no choice.” Greenville, N.C., speech, 9/6/16
Moderator: Was the United States right to invade Iraq?
Donald Trump I: Yeah, I guess so. Howard Stern radio show, 9/11/02
Donald Trump II: I am the only person on this dais — the only person — that fought very, very hard against us, and I wasn’t a sitting politician, going into Iraq. … You can check it out. GOP primary debate, 9/16/15
Moderator: OK, let’s turn to domestic policy. Should a women be punished if abortion is ruled illegal?
Donald Trump I: There has to be some form of punishment (for the woman). MSNBC town hall, 3/30/16
Donald Trump II: If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal … the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed. Campaign statement, later on 3/30/16
Moderator: You’ve talked of reviving the economy for workers. Does that include raising the minimum wage?
Donald Trump I: Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. … We cannot do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it. GOP primary debate, 11/10/15
Donald Trump II: I’m actually looking at that. I’m very different from most Republicans. You have to have something you can live on. CNN interview, 5/4/16
Moderator: Gentlemen, this has been fascinating. You obviously don’t agree on much. Please give us your closing statements.
Donald Trump I: We are going to make our country great again.
Donald Trump II: We are going to make our country so great again.