Residents of the Shepherdstown area gathered one last time to watch the third and final presidential debate at the Shepherdstown Opera House.
Attendance again took a slight dip in comparison to the last debate, but attendees were as vocal as they had been at the past. Laughter was the most common reaction, beginning early as attendees laughed at Trump’s expressions during Clinton’s response to the opening question and Trumps’s comments on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Trump’s remarks regarding illegal immigration were met with laughter after his statement that, “We have some bad hombres here and we have to get them out.” The return by Trump to the strategy of previous debates of leaning into the microphone and saying “wrong” during Clinton’s remarks also garnered audible chuckles from the crowd.
The audience was much more likely to applaud after statements by Clinton. Her line, “He used undocumented labor to build Trump Tower,” was the first comment of the night to elicit applause. Clinton’s assertion that “he choked” in regard to Trump’s lack of discussion of building the Southern boarder wall when meeting with the president of Mexico was also met with applause.
The biggest laughs of the night came after Trump said, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” and Trump’s comment, “I should have gotten it,” in response to the lack of Emmy awards for “Celebrity Apprentice.” Clinton was still able to get a few more reactions out of the crowd as the night wore on with applause following her comment, “Undocumented workers are paying more in taxes than a billionaire,” and Clinton’s response of, “Who does that,” when mentioning the Trump Foundation’s purchase of a 6-foot portrait of Trump.
The sole moment during the debate that received a reaction other than laughter or applause came when gasps and boos met Trump’s response to the question of whether he would accept the results of the election saying, “I will look at it at the time, I’m going to keep you in suspense.”
One Shepherdstown resident, Bill Lukens, said that Clinton won the final debate and had won the previous two debates as well.
“It’s hard for someone who acts like a middle school bully to win a debate,” Lukens said. He added that Trump had not improved since the first debate because, “He has the intelligence of a middle schooler.”
Lukens said that Clinton was on track to win the election before the debates, but that the debates were nevertheless a boost for Clinton’s campaign and exposed Trump’s lack of preparation.
The Opera House will host live coverage of the election results on Nov. 8.