SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
More than 150 students attended a watch party of the first presidential debate Sept. 26, hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) club.
The viewing was held in the Pugliese Auditorium, which was filled to the brim with students waiting to see the first face-to-face encounter between the Republican nominee, businessman Donald Trump, and his Democratic counterpart, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The debate focused on several things, among them income inequality, racial tensions and cyber terrorism.
Students reacted in several ways at different moments during the debate for and against both candidates. When the candidates were introduced on stage, Pugliese erupted in boos for Secretary Clinton, followed by scattered applause for Mr. Trump.
This pattern of reaction continued throughout the evening, with loud disagreement with several of Secretary Clinton’s statements and mixed applause and groans at Mr. Trump’s.
The one exception was when Secretary Clinton responded to one of Mr. Trump’s comments accusing her of taking time off from the campaign trail to prepare for the debate. She said, “And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.” She received a good round of applause for that statement.
Reaction from students afterward was a combination of opposition to Secretary Clinton, yet reluctance to support Mr. Trump.
Freshman Anthony Batalla thought that Secretary Clinton won the debate, but is still undecided about whom he will vote for.
“Secretary Clinton kept her cool, and in that sense she won the debate, but I won’t vote for her because I disagree with her policies,” said Batalla. He said that he will decide his vote after doing his own research on the candidates, and may still write someone in.
Sophomore Christine Macdonald called herself a “reluctant Trumper” and said that while Trump is not her top choice, he would make a better president than Secretary Clinton.
The majority of those in attendance said that they were registered to vote and plan to cast their ballot in November.
The next debate will be held between vice-presidential candidates Governor Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine on Oct. 4. YAF will be hosting a watch party for this debate as well.