Photos: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, round two
St. Louis, MO– It was a terse beginning to a tense night when presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage for the second presidential debate at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Many predicted the two would not shake hands at the outset of the debate, following a troubling week in which the Republican nominee, if not the GOP as a whole, faced a tremendous set back. As anticipated, Clinton and Trump stood awkwardly at slightly more than arm’s length before turning away from each other to take their seats.
Questions surrounding the leaked 2005 recording of Trump boasting about the power of his celebrity and his sexual conquests took center stage almost immediately—as was expected after the nominee was holed up in Trump Tower with top aides, trying to decide how best to deal with blowback. As of Monday morning, more than 160 prominent Republican leaders have withdrawn their support of the real estate mogul-turned-reality tv star-turned politician. For his part, Trump has said party members who abandon him will pay a price.
Much less visible last night was the controversy surrounding the Clinton campaign, related to emails leaked on Friday, which appear to reveal the contents of some of her speeches to Wall Street. Instead, more attention was focused on the nominee’s email scandal. Trump, taking a lesson from the first debate, went in hard this time, saying that if he becomes president he will appoint a “special prosecutor” to investigate her, and going on to say he would jail her.
Other takeaways that made NBC’s list are Trump’s admission to not paying federal taxes, and the moment in which he broke with his running mate, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, on Syria, saying, “he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree [with him].”
The 90 minutes came to a close with an audience member asking the candidates to say one nice thing about each other in a moment that was conceived as decent for Trump, when he said he respected Clinton’s “fight.” Clinton was once again the more tempered, predictable participant, who played it safe and stuck to her script. Trump’s temperament, on the other hand, is being described as menacing and intimidating by some, as gifs and videos emerge of the Republican nominee hovering over Clinton onstage, when he was not pacing back and forth.
The two shook hands before leaving the stage—Clinton to meet with audience members and Trump to leave the premises promptly with his family.
These photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his ongoing body of work “Political Theatre,” which examines the landscape of the American political system.