Washington D.C., Sep 27, 2016 / 14:40 pm
There were few direct statements about faith by the two presidential candidates in Monday’s debate. But that is not necessarily a cause for worry, Catholic analysts said.
Monday’s event was only “the first of three presidential debates,” noted Dr. Matthew Bunson, senior contributor to EWTN, and the candidates did not have “many opportunities” to discuss faith issues because of the structure of the debate, which focused mainly on national security, the economy, and the direction of the country.
“And I think they were much more concerned with going at each other than they were with bolstering their image with faith voters,” Bunson said of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
However, Bunson expects that there will be more mention of faith at the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate between Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a Roman Catholic, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), who was raised Catholic but currently identifies as an evangelical Christian.
Presidential contenders Trump and Clinton officially debated for the first time on Monday evening at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Clinton has identified as a Methodist; Trump has said he is a Presbyterian Protestant at Marble Collegiate Church in New York, but the church has clarified that he is not a regular attendee.
Throughout the evening, they fielded questions from moderator Lester Holt, the anchor of the NBC Nightly News, on issues of the economy, national security, race relations and civil unrest, and their own personal lives. However, their own faith and the role of faith in today’s public square were topics largely absent from the conversation.
Sara Huckabee Sanders, a Trump advisor and daughter of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, said the lack of talk of faith was “a little bit” concerning.