What did we learn about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Jewish vote from the debate on Monday night?
Except for an extended tussle about the Iran nuclear deal, not a whole lot. Race was an issue, but Clinton did not make an issue of the support the Republican nominee gets from the alt-right, a breeding ground for white supremacists and anti-Semites.
Nevertheless, there were some obvious moments, and others less obvious. Let’s run through them.
Is Bibi a happy camper? The substance: Trump asserted that the deal reached last year between Iran and six major powers, led by the United States, exchanging sanctions relief for a cap on uranium enrichment and other restrictions, will make Iran a major power.
“You started the Iran deal,” he said to Clinton. “That’s another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions, and now they’re probably going to be a major power at some point the way they’re going.”
Clinton replied that Iran was much less of a threat with the deal in place.“I spent a year and a half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran, and we did drive them to the negotiating table,” she said. “And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. Without firing a single shot.”
Trump wasn’t buying it. “This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history,” he said. “The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much. And they’re going to end up getting nuclear. I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he’s not a happy camper.”
Tuesday morning, ahead of a Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t seem too unhappy a camper. In his opening remarks, Netanyahu said the Iran deal was still a thorn, yes, but the $38 billion, 10-year defense assistance package he just secured from the Obama administration pleased him.
“Last Wednesday I met with President Obama,” he said. “It was an excellent meeting. I thanked him for the historic security assistance agreement that we signed; the largest in U.S. history with any country. This agreement will ensure our military capabilities and our defensive capabilities against missiles in the coming decade.
“It is no secret that President Obama and I have had our disagreements, …