Clinton and Trump Had A Lot to Say About Government Management in Final Debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off at the third presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off at the third presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Mark Ralston/Pool via AP

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated for the final time on Wednesday, touching on a variety of issues that could impact federal agencies and their employees.

Clinton repeatedly cited her experience running the State Department and spoke out against shutting down the government for political purposes, while Trump lodged attacks on several federal agencies. They both laid out their plans for federal law enforcement agencies, especially with regard to immigration.

Here are the highlights from each candidate:

Donald Trump

  • As he did in the first two debates, Trump noted the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement unions endorsed him. Trump did not mention the unions, again falsely implying the agencies themselves had supported him. He also said those two agencies support his plan to build a wall, though they have made no such declaration.
  • Trump said he did not trust the Intelligence Community -- a composite of 16 military and civilian agencies -- in their assessment that Russia was behind the Wikileaks hack of Democrat National Committee emails and other breaches.
  • Trump accused Clinton of mismanagement while she ran the State Department, saying she lost or misplaced $6 billion. The businessman appeared to be referencing a 2014 inspector general report, though fact checkers have said that characterization of the audit is false.
  • Trump took shots at the FBI’s handling of the investigation of Clinton’s emails while at the State Department. “What happened to the FBI?” Trump asked. “I don’t know.” 
  • The Republican nominee would not commit to accepting the election results. When asked if he would uphold the tradition, he said, "I will keep you in suspense." A refusal to concede could disrupt the transition process, as overseen by the General Services Administration. 

Hillary Clinton

  • Clinton noted that Trump voiced support for withholding funding for federal agencies unless the spending bill did not include appropriations for Planned Parenthood, effectively resulting in a government shutdown. Trump told conservative radio commentator Hugh Hewitt last August he would shut down the government over the fight to defund the women’s health care organization.
  • The former State Department secretary denounced Trump’s immigration plan, saying it would create a “massive” buildup of law enforcement officers to go home-to-home and business-to-business to round up all immigrants. She vowed to deport “any violent person” who is undocumented.
  • Clinton at times defended her record at the State Department, saying everything she did was for the “furtherance of our country's interests and our values.” She again defended her family’s foundation as not implicating any conflict of interest on her management of the department.
  • Pushed for her plans to pay for new government spending -- Clinton cited investment in education and infrastructure -- the Democratic nominee said she would not add a dime to the national debt during her presidency. Clinton suggested taxing the wealthy would be the primary source for the new funding. 
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