Opinion

JOAN VENNOCHI

Trump is the nasty one

Such a nasty man.

Donald Trump’s refusal to say he would accept the November 8 election results was the big debate headline. But what will also stick with voters — especially women — were the words he directed at Hillary Clinton as she answered a question about Social Security and entitlements:

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“Such a nasty woman,” muttered the Republican presidential nominee.

It’s the kind of rude response we’ve come to expect from Trump. Just another example of the meanness and gracelessness that makes him unfit to occupy the Oval Office — and one that again displays his contempt for women.

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His sense of male entitlement is clear, whether he’s bragging about grabbing female genitals, or on a stage with his presidential rival. Disagreeing with Clinton on the issues isn’t enough for Trump. He has to portray her as an evil woman. During their last debate, he said Clinton was filled with “hate” and promised to throw her in prison if he wins election. That appalling attitude goes right along with a candidate who also says he will keep the country in suspense over whether he’ll abide by the voters’ decision on election day.

In this third and thankfully final debate, Trump made an initial stab at trying to sound semi- presidential. But then the real Trump — undisciplined and unpleasant — came through as it always does. Trump’s base will be delighted with his performance, but, once again, he did nothing to grow support and a lot to offend constituencies he needs on election day — like female voters.

Asked about the allegations of groping and assault made by numerous women, Trump declared them false and “debunked.” Of the women who made the charges, he said, “I think they either want fame or her [Clinton’s] campaign did it.”

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Clinton seized upon the moment to repeat a litany of offensive Trump remarks about women and others. Because of Trump’s propensity for making every question about himself, Clinton was also able to duck the question as it related to Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior, and her own response to that.

For the first time in these presidential debates, abortion was a topic of discussion. Trump’s answer made it very clear what’s at stake: the Supreme Court. Trump said, “The justices I’m going to appoint will be pro-life.” Asked about overturning Roe v. Wade, he said, “That’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

Clinton passionately defended reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood and “women’s rights to make their own health-care decisions.” She skillfully reminded viewers of Trump’s previous assertion that women who obtain abortions should be punished should the practice be outlawed.

Clinton’s debating skills are so superior to Trump’s, he couldn’t even score points on the Wikileaks revelations.

His opponent deftly turned the discussion of what the hacked e-mails said about her to what they said about Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the role of the Russian government in hacking into American websites.

Calling Trump Putin’s “puppet,” Clinton said the question for the night was whether Trump will “admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this’’ to interfere with the outcome of the election. And she got Trump to sort of answer it. While denying that he knew Putin, and wasn’t sure Russia is behind the hacking, Trump said, “Of course, I condemn.”

Then Trump went off on one of his usual tangents about how Putin “outsmarted” and “outplayed” Clinton in Syria and other places.

Talk about being outsmarted and outplayed.

Clinton did it to Trump three times on the debate stage. If you’re Trump, that makes Clinton a nasty woman. If you’re Clinton, that makes you a winner who beat a nasty man.

Joan Vennochi can be reached at vennochi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Joan_Vennochi.
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