The American public watched attentively as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off during the first presidential debate on Monday night at Hofstra University. Moderator Lester Holt led the two presidential hopefuls through three topics and attempted to reign in both candidates, all while fact-checking some of the more outlandish statements uttered onstage. During a particularly tense exchange, Holt found himself in the middle of Trump's spin zone as the candidate reasserted his narrative about stop and frisk and New York City's murder rate. Trump's statements caught the attention of J. Peter Donald, the NYPD's assistant commissioner for communication and public information. The NYPD spokesperson fact-checked the presidential debate, specifically the statements that related to the city and its police force.
Donald was not happy about what Trump had to say and was not afraid to let the world know it, speaking on behalf of the NYPD. The Republican nominee claimed that stop and frisk was an effective method for crime prevention and that its ruling of unconstitutionality had been decreed by "a judge who was very much against police."
"It was taken away from her and our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal," Trump retorted. He subsequently denied that stop and frisk was a form of racial profiling, which is not true and is in fact the exact reason why it was ruled unconstitutional, as Holt pointed out during the debate and which J. Peter Donald backed up in his tweets.
J. Peter Donald was quick to tweet a response to Trump's additional claim that homicides are up nationwide. Trump's assertion that the murder rate is on the rise is a dubious one that he's frequently trotted out, most famously during his speech at the Republican National Convention. It's also not the whole picture, which J. Peter Donald noted in his retweet of Politico journalist Azi Paybarah. Paybarah had reported earlier that day that overall crimes and shootings were down in New York City. J. Peter Donald backed him up in a tweet, stating that the city was down 16 homicides from this time last year based on data from the start of the calendar year to Sunday morning.
For every false claim and rallying cry regarding the violence of his hometown, J. Peter Donald had just one emoji to counteract Trump's fear-mongering — a down arrow.
It's doubtful that New York City viewers were too happy that their city was getting dragged by a native son — and doubtful that those police unions that have endorsed Trump are psyched about him questioning. Judging by the assistant commissioner's tweets, New Yorkers could at least come together on setting the record straight.