Republican and Democratic presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attack each other with brutal exchanges during their second presidential debate a month before the Election Day.
The debate was held at the Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, on Sunday night.
The two candidates broke traditional debate decorum by refusing to shake hands as they took the stage.
Trump called her Democratic rival a “devil” and Clinton said the business mogul owes all Americans an apology for a campaign driven by insults and degrading comments about women and minorities.
The debate came as the Trump campaign is in crisis after his sexually obscene comments, made years earlier, were exposed in a video tape.
The video was recorded in 2005 while Trump was on a bus with former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. The former reality TV star can be heard talking about his failed attempt to seduce a “married” woman. “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily.” He also says, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful” women. “I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
The leaked tape angered Republican leaders, many of whom have withdrawn their endorsement of Trump and called for him to drop out of the race.
According to the Associated Press, the debate served as Trump’s “final opportunity to keep his campaign,” following calls by Republican leaders for his withdrawal.
Commenting on his lewd remarks exposed in the recording, Trump pushed back against the criticisms, saying he had never really kissed or groped women without consent and that was just “locker room talk.”
“No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understand what I said,” he told debate moderator Anderson Cooper, who described the remarks as “sexual assault.”
Clinton, on the other hand, rejected Trump’s defense in his apology following the leak, saying the vulgar comments reflect “who Donald Trump is” and what he “thinks about women, what he does to women.”
“It’s clear to anyone who heard it, it represents exactly who he is.”
She further denounced Trump’s other disparaging remarks against not only women, but African Americans, asylum seekers, people with disabilities, prisoners of war and Muslims.
The former first lady shrugged off Trump’s attacks Bill Clinton’s affair as US president, suggested that Trump’s apology was not enough as he must apologize to the whole country for the way he has conducted his insult-driven campaign.
Trump tore into Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, for his past infidelities and sexual misconduct.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,” Trump said. “Mine are words, and his was action. His was, what he’s done to women, there’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women.
“So, you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”
Later during the debate, Trump refused to answer a question about how to stop Islamophobia in the US, asserting that Muslims themselves should report dangerous behavior by terrorists, prompting Clinton to denounce his stance as “dark and divisive.”