Drop the mic: Trump, Clinton spar over microphone during debate
By Eric DuVall
Republican Donald Trump listens to Democrat Hillary Clinton during the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Monday. Trup said moderator Lester Holt asked tougher questions to Trump than Clinton. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- In the post-debate spin war between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Tuesday, Trump complained his microphone wasn't working properly, while Clinton said he was deflecting blame for a "bad night."
Trump, in an interview on Fox News, said his microphone was not working, causing the audio feed inside the debate hall to cut out. He questioned whether it was deliberately sabotaged.
"My microphone, in the room, they couldn't hear me. It was going on and off. I wonder if it was set up this way," he said Tuesday morning to Fox.
After two flash polls showed Clinton the winner of the debate, a confident candidate emerged on her campaign plane Tuesday morning to take questions from the press. Clinton said she had a "great time" at the debate. As the press conference was ending, she began to walk away, then heard a question from the gaggle about the microphone controversy and turned back around to answer.
"Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night," Clinton said.
There were not any problems with Trump's microphone in the broadcast seen by tens of millions on television or the Internet. The audience in the hall had been asked to remain silent during the debate, though at times there was applause or laughter. Moderator Lester Holt admonished those in the hall once after the debate began for reacting to the Trump's words with applause. Multiple times after that, the audience reacted for both candidates, though Holt let it pass without acknowledgment.
Trump also questioned why Holt did not ask Clinton about controversies surrounding her family's foundation or her use of a private email server during Monday's debate.
Trump clashed with Holt on several topics during the debate, calling them "hostile questions." He was asked about his tax returns, which he has not released, his past birther accusations about President Barack Obama's nationality and his position on the Iraq war, after which Holt questioned Trump's statement he was against it, citing interviews where he said he was for it.
"They were leaving all of her little goodies out. They didn't ask her about, you know, much," Trump said on Fox News. "But I was asked about my tax returns, which I've told about 500 times. But, you know, I think I did -- I think I really did well when we were asked normal questions. I think I did really well in answering those questions, but those questions are not answerable in a positive light."
Overall, Trump said he "didn't think [Holt] did a bad job," and gave the moderator a grade of C-plus for the evening.
"I didn't think he did a bad job. You know, when you look at it, you watch the last four questions, he hit me on birther, he hit he on a housing deal from many years ago that I settled with no recourse and no guilt," he said.
Overall, Trump said he thought the debate went "really well."
By comparison, several of Clinton's most prominent controversies were not topics of questions from Holt, who acknowledged by the end of the debate there were still questions he wanted to ask had there been more time.
"Well, he didn't ask her about the emails at all. He didn't ask her about her scandals. He didn't ask her about the Benghazi deal that she destroyed," Trump said. "He didn't ask her about a lot of things she should have been asked about. I mean, you know, there's no question about it. He didn't ask about her foundation."
But the oddball question of the night had nothing to do with Holt's questions or the audio equipment, but Twitter users pointing out Trump's repeated sniffles.
At several points in the debate after speaking, Trump sniffled, leading some to question whether it was his turn to suffer a campaign trail illness.
He denied that was the case.
"No, no sniffles. You know the mic was very bad but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing. ... No cold," he said.