Presidentially Intimidated

Presidentially Intimidated

Hillary Clinton

Both 2016 presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are intimidating people. On the right hand, stands Trump, the Chairman and President of the luxury-spun Trump Organization. The majority of the world knew his name even before he began campaigning for the White House. And on the left hand, sits former lawyer, first lady and New York senator, Secretary of State Secretary Clinton with an equally impressive resume. If either walks into a room, they instantly command it.

Since intimidating others comes naturally to each candidate, the first two presidential debates resembled showdowns. On Sept. 26, both Trump and Secretary Clinton brought their arsenal of tactics to the Hofstra University stage, and again at Longwood University on Oct. 4.

Round 1: Sept. 26

Secretary Hilary Clinton

Tactic: “Donald”

While Trump primarily referred to his opponent as “Secretary Clinton,” the democrat nominee consistently used “Donald.” Secretary Clinton’s insistence on saying Trump’s first name reduced her opponent’s status, and revoked his right to even a last name reference. Yet, by still accepting the title “Secretary Clinton” from Trump, she tried to establish herself as superior.

Tactic: Say What?

Secretary Clinton couldn’t begin speaking without first trying to generate a laugh and degrade whatever Trump had just said. Some of the most poignant follow:

  • “Oh, Donald I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts…”
  • “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes.”
  • “I hope the fact checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.”
  • “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Donald Trump

Tactic: Let Me Speak

Throughout much of Secretary Clinton’s designated speaking time, Trump interjected, “No, no, no,” or “That’s not true,” or “That wouldn’t start a war,” into the microphone, trying to win out against Secretary Clinton’s voice. At one point he even stared pointedly at the poor moderator, Lester Holt, and said, “Let me speak.” Trump aimed to prove that what he had to say trumped anything anyone else ever could.


Round 2: Oct. 4

Secretary Hilary Clinton

Tactic: Chuckle, Chuckle, Smirk

The split-screen viewing allowed at-home audiences to see both candidates simultaneously, so we had a great view of Secretary Clinton’s condescending smirks, chuckles and full-fledged grins as she reacted to Trump’s thoughts. With all the sass she could muster, Secretary Clinton laughed her way through the debate, belittling everything Trump said.


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Donald Trump

Tactic: Read My Resume

Multiple times, Trump brought up his success and his bank account. According to “the Donald” himself, other business owners revere him because he “is very rich.” Much of America already knows of Trump’s organizational success, yet he continually commented on it to intimidate anyone who does not own a luxury condominium empire.

Tactic: Hashtag Fail

Both candidates repeatedly mentioned the other’s mistakes, but Trump relentlessly questioned why Secretary Clinton has worked in government for 30 years and not implemented her ideas. He reasoned that if Secretary Clinton hasn’t instigated change by now, America needs a different approach in order to become great again. Because of Secretary Clinton’s role in government, Trump also blamed her for the “mess in the Middle East” and the United States’ economic difficulties during the Obama Administration. Trump even brought up the “33,000 deleted emails” to showcase Secretary Clinton’s past mistakes.


Either candidate could probably intimidate any other human being, but it seems like they’ve met their matches. Neither candidate intimidates the other, yet both insist on trying. At least this approach promises continuous entertainment—and perhaps concern—as the two stubborn forces collide across the United States of America. The end result? November 8 will tell.

-Miriam A. Thurber ‘19