Trump threatens to hit Clinton harder

US Republican candidate Donald Trump says he may hit his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton harder in the next presidential debate, following their first encounter on Monday.

Mr Trump said he held back “because he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings”.

In a Fox News interview, he also accused moderator Lester Holt of being tougher on him than on Mrs Clinton.

Overnight polls with small samples were split on who won, but more rigorous surveys are due in the coming days.

Research firm Nielsen estimates 81.4 million Americans watched Monday’s debate at home.

This would topple the previous record of 80.6 million viewers who tuned in for the 1980 presidential debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Asked how he felt about the debate on the television news programme Fox and Friends on Tuesday, Mr Trump said it had gone well, but complained that Mr Holt had not pressed Mrs Clinton on her “scandals”.

“He didn’t ask her about the emails, he didn’t ask her about the scandals, he didn’t ask her about the Benghazi deal. He didn’t ask her about a lot of things he should have asked her about. Why? I don’t know,” he said.

He said he felt tempted to bring up ‘the many affairs that Bill Clinton had’ but held back because the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea was in the audience.

“I may hit her harder in certain ways. I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings,” he stated.

Asked whether Hillary Clinton had got under his skin, Mr Trump said “at the end maybe, at the very last question”.

Mrs Clinton had brought up the case of Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe, saying Mr Trump called her ‘Miss Piggy’ after she gained weight. But Mr Trump brushed away her accusation said Ms Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight” making it a problem for the Miss Universe pageants, of which he was the owner.

After the debate, Mrs Clinton posted a campaign video in which Ms Machado describes how she had been treated by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also said his microphone was terrible and crackled, and that his volume was lower than Hillary Clinton’s microphone. He blamed this for what some listeners thought were sniffles by Mr Trump during the debate.

Debate highlights
Much of the debate centred on personal issues and attacks, with both candidates saying “the other did not have the right character or temperament to become president of the United States.”

Mercy Chukwudiebere