1. “Mr. Trump, you have been criticized repeatedly for telling lies on the campaign trail. You said that you saw a video of thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering when the World Trade Center came crashing down. Your campaign tweeted that 85% of the violent crimes experienced by white people are committed by black people. You have claimed that the current unemployment rate is 45%. All of these claims are untrue. We now have a very clear and clean opportunity to talk about truth and lies. Recently, you met with the President of Mexico. You said that the topic of who pay for the wall you intend to build never came up. He said that it did, and that he told you Mexico would not pay for it. Are you calling the President of Mexico a liar?”
2. “Mr. Trump, in 2012 you and others excoriated Mitt Romney for what appeared to be flip-flops on his positions. And yet in recent weeks your own campaign has struggled with flip-flops, most notably on your immigration policies. You’ve stepped back from your total ban of all non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States, and – perhaps most significantly -- you changed your position on immediately deporting all eleven million undocumented aliens. Finally, last week, you acknowledged publicly that Barack Obama was born in the United States after five years of refusing to acknowledge this point. These are all major changes in your positions. What makes your flip-flops – particularly your flip-flop on the issue of Barack Obama’s citizenship --different from Mitt Romney’s? Does your flip-flop on the Obama issue mean that you were wrong in the past?”
3. “Mr. Trump, Ronald Reagan famously based his candidacy on a simple question: are you better off now than you were four years ago? There are very few people in the United States who would attempt to make the argument that the United States at the close of the presidency of George W. Bush was a healthier America than it is now. Then, we were close to a global economic meltdown that triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression, wiping out trillions of dollars of savings. You yourself have said that the Bush administration’s war in Iraq was a mistake. Our automobile industry needed a massive bail-out to survive. While it is no secret that the recovery has not been experienced evenly across the United States, there is no question that our economy is growing strongly. Last week came the news that middle class incomes enjoyed the most significant increase in decades. Unemployment stands at a lower point than the level that Mitt Romney had targeted as the goal of his administration. We are not involved in a major land battle abroad, and the relatively few instances of terrorism in the United States have been nowhere near the level or carnage as the 9/11 attacks under the Bush White House. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Barack Obama’s approval rating stands at 58%, vastly higher that either yours or Secretary Clinton’s, and nearly twice the approval rating last recorded by a Republican President. You have warned that a Clinton presidency would represent a continuation of the Obama record. How do you think most American’s would answer Ronald Reagan’s question about whether they are better off now, or how things were at the close of the Bush administration?”
4. “Mr. Trump, you make bold claims that you will be the ‘greatest jobs president God ever created,’ and you have excoriated the performance of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. However, you have said very little by way of specifics about what you would do differently. Your major Detroit speech on your economic policy was considered to be largely a mainstream Republican trickle-down economics template. You’ve talked about renegotiating trade deals with very little substance about what specifically you would change. If you don’t plan to do much that is different from past Republican presidents, how do you expect different results?”
5. “Mr. Trump, you are no doubt familiar with the phrase the ‘3:00 a.m. call’ – that hypothetical moment when you are woken up in the middle of the night because you must deal with an urgent crisis or global proportions. Imagine that it is 3:00 a.m. in the Trump White House, and that you are awoken to the news that Catherine Samba-Panza, the democratically-elected President of the African nation Burundi Faso, has been taken hostage. Given the extremely tense relations between Burundi Faso and Somalia, Samba-Panza’s top General Ikililou Dhoinine has stated that he believes that the kidnapping has been backed by Somalian Monarch Luc Mbah a Moute. The concern is that a violent confrontation between Somolia Sunni and Burundi-Faso Shiites could immediately trigger a broader conflagration that would undoubtedly bring states and organizations with competing economic and/or religious interests, such as Russia, Egypt, Iran, and ISIS into the fray. Indeed, you have been informed that Israeli President Netanyahu has scrambled fighter jets and has actually raised his nuclear readiness code. Mr. Trump, when you are woken up at 3:00 to this news, what immediate steps do you take?”
6. “Mr. Trump, you have based much of your candidacy on your success as a businessman. You frequently talk about how you hire the ‘best people’ at your companies, and that you will only the ‘best people’ in your administration. Many would argue that the best proof of your acumen in attracting the best people is to look at who you have installed to lead your campaign. You’ve had three different leaders of your campaign in the span of three months. In the world of business, is having three leaders of your organization six month considered good management? Did you have to make these changes because your judgment was wrong in the first place?”
7. “Mr. Trump, you say you refuse to release your taxes because you are under audit, but many tax attorneys say that this is not a legitimate reason. Moreover, you may be under audit precisely because of irregularities in your tax filing, in which case you may be using the fact that you have a significant tax problem as the rationale for concealing that very tax problem. You certainly know that that you have the option of releasing your taxes from years past, as these returns are not under the current audit and are therefore free to be released. Mr. Trump, are you hiding something that would be devastating to your candidacy if they were revealed before Election Day? One theory is that you claim to have given tens of millions of dollars to charity but no one can find any evidence of recipients. Your tax return would offer some proof of those donations. Another theory is that your net worth is only a fraction of the ten billion dollars you claim, diminishing your repeated assertions of great business success. Or, perhaps, your return would reveal that you have paid only a small amount in taxes. Or, that you have foreign investments and entanglements – with Russia or China, for example – that would compromise your decision-making as President. Perhaps the real issue is what your son said just the other day – that you don’t want to release your taxes – and now I am quoting – ‘because he's got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from his main message.’ Stated another way, you are simply worried about what people would find. Why are you not releasing your taxes, Mr. Trump? What is it that you don’t want people to know?”
8. "Mr. Trump, given the number of headlines devoted to terrorism, racial tension, government dysfunction, and a myriad of other immediate concerns, a wide array of important issues have been shoved to the back burner. For example, the issue of safe disposal of our stockpile of radioactive waste is a huge concern to the populations of the western states that are currently serving as repositories for such decaying radioactive materials, as well as for the states that are being considered for new storage facilities. How important will this issue be in a Trump White House, and which states do you feel are being most unfairly treated in this debate?”
9. “Mr. Trump, when you have commented on military matters, you’ve created concern among members of the military community that you would be an undisciplined, trigger-happy Commander-in-Chief. You have said you will ‘bomb the shit’ out of ISIS. Just last week, you told your followers that if Iranian sailors merely verbally or visually taunt the American Navy, you will return their gestures with open fire. Kim Jong-un of North Korea is now projected to be within several years of being able to launch a nuclear intercontinental missile capable of reaching most major cities in the United States. His missiles tests are obviously far more provocative – and more dangerous -- than the gestures of Iranian sailors. Do you anticipate a need to launch a pre-emptive military strike to strip North Korea of its ability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States?
10. “Mr. Trump, your admiration for Russian President Putin is widely known. Indeed, you stated that you believe he is a stronger leader than President Obama, and you cited a poll showing that his favorability ratings in Russia were 82%, far higher than President Obama’s ratings in the United States. Many people think that you are naïve to believe a popularity poll issued by a totalitarian regime that suppresses opposition. Do you think you were being naïve?”
11. “Mr. Trump, two weeks ago you began an outreach to African American voters, visiting a black church for the first time in your campaign. You have said that the living conditions of African Americans living in our inner cities are worse than bomb zones in third world countries, and that African Americans should support you because you couldn’t possible do worse than Democrats. The theme of your convention, however, was that you would be the “law and order candidate,” which included an aggressive defense of law enforcement and a condemnation of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Finally, you have given up after years of leading the “birther” movement and its allegation that Barack Obama is not a citizen and therefore not legitimately the President of the United States. Many people in the African American community view your recent initiatives as purely political ploys borne of political need rather than authentic concern. If you were genuinely concerned about the lives of African Americans, why did your expressions of concern come so late in your campaign?”
12. “Mr. Trump, every day at your company, you rely on the extremely sophisticated calculations, judgments, and knowledge of your staff engineers to determine how to safely build the immense skyscrapers that bear the Trump name. It’s a known fact that 97% of the world’s climate scientists agree global warming is real and is changing the planet. Why do you believe the scientists at your company but not the scientists who study climate?”
13. “Mr. Trump, you would no doubt admit that personal insult has played a very large roll in your campaign. On the very first day, you labeled Mexicans as ‘rapists.’ In the Republican primaries, you labelled Jeb Bush as ‘low energy,’ Marco Rubio as ‘little Marco,” and Ted Cruz as “Lying Ted.” You said that John McCain is ‘not a war hero.’ You said that ‘Muslims hate us.’ You cruelly mimicked the physical disability of New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski. There has been a pattern of misogyny in your campaign which is manifest in your insults, as you implied that Megan Kelly was asking you tough questions because she was having her menstrual period, you harshly criticized Carly Fiorina and Rosie O’Donnell purely on your judgment of their physical appearance, you implied that Heidi Cruz had committed some damning deed when you said you would ‘spill the beans’ on her, you called Mika Brzezinski “crazy and very dumb,” you’ve labelled your opponent for the Presidency “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, and you have said that all women who have abortions should be punished. Two of the three leaders of your campaign have been accused of being physically abusive to women. If you become President, can we expect that this is how you will lead our country and represent the United States to the world? By insulting opponents, giving foreign leaders insulting nicknames, and creating an atmosphere in our executive branch that is demeaning to women?
14. “Mr. Trump, you are never short on superlatives. You’ve described Trump enterprises as a ‘great company,’ you’ve talked about how smart you are. You’ve said that you would be the ‘greatest jobs president God had ever created.’ You’ve said that the ‘Art of the Deal’ is the second best book ever, only after the Bible. And you haven’t spared others your harsh critique. You’ve attacked the last two presidents of the United States savagely. Mr. Trump, please talk about where you believe you and others would be viewed by history among Presidents. First, among the 44 American Presidents, where do you rank Barack Obama? Which of the 44 American presidents do you feel most inspired by and which do feel you are most similar to? And by the end of your time in office, where do you think you will be ranked by historians in terms of greatness as President of the United States? Do you think you will be in the top three?”