Rhode Island leaders weigh in on first Clinton-Trump debate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The first presidential debate in the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proved a fierce, polarizing showdown. Gov. Gina Raimondo joined in the claiming of victory for her chosen candidate.

“I think you saw Mr. Trump not holding up well under pressure, and it certainly just reinforced my view that she ought to be the next president,” Gov. Raimondo said Tuesday.

Rhode Island GOP chairman Brandon Bell conceded that Hillary had an edge over Trump.

“I think Hillary Clinton had a good night,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination it was a knock-out punch.”

Bell said Trump allowed Clinton to “get under his skin,” and could do a better job next time by bringing up Clinton’s foundation, her email scandal and Benghazi. Bell mentioned President Obama’s first debate in 2012, when many said Mitt Romney won the match, but Obama went on to win the presidency.

Bell said Trump did a better job at the beginning of the debate.

“Unleashing the economy, the bad trade deals, protecting our people…the number one issue is safety,” Bell said, ticking off some of Trump’s early points.

Nearing the end, Donald Trump answered a question from moderator Lester Holt about his previous comments that Clinton doesn’t have a “presidential look.”

“I don’t believe she has the stamina,” he said in part. “To be president of this country, you need to have tremendous stamina.”

“It’s laughable,” said Gov. Raimondo about the comment. “This is a woman who’s been a United States Senator, traveled the world, visited more countries as Secretary of State than anyone…and she has stamina like no one I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“I think it was a comment on her health,” Bell countered. “The fact that she had to be practically carried into the van,” he said, referring to when she was seen on video staggering into a van after a 9/11 ceremony in New York. It was later disclosed that she had pneumonia.

Other Rhode Island and Massachusetts leaders also weighed in on Twitter:

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