Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said “steadiness” is the most important quality needed for a commander in chief, during a presidential forum on Wednesday.
“Steadiness (is the best quality). An absolute rock steadiness mixed with strength to make the best decisions,” she told NBC News’ Matt Lauer during a candidate forum Wednesday night. “These are not easy decisions. If they were, they would not get to the President in the first place.”
The former secretary of state also repeated “it was a mistake” to have used a personal email account while leading the department, and that she would “certainly not do it again.”
“I make no excuses for it,” she said.
But Clinton defended emails, including information about the country’s covert drone program, as not revealing classified information.
“There were no discussions about any of the covert actions in process being determined about whether or not to go forward,” she said. “But every part of our government had to deal with questions, secretary of state’s office was first and foremost, so there are ways of talking about the drone program.”
She was asked about a range of issues, including veterans’ affairs, her vote for the Iraq War and defeating ISIS.
“I have said that my voting to give President Bush that authority was, from my perspective, my mistake,” she said. “I am asking to be judged on the totality of my record.”
Asked about what critics call her hawkish foreign policy record, Clinton said: “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria.”
Trump followed Clinton in the forum, also taking questions from Lauer.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump called for ending the sequester on military spending to boost troops numbers and number of ships and aircraft.
He said that if he becomes president, he will ask Congress to reverse cuts to defense spending enacted under the 2013 budget sequester and submit a new budget to rebuild the military, which he said isn’t prepared to confront threats to the country.
In his speech to the Union League of Philadelphia, he also contrasted his foreign policy vision with Clinton’s record, saying she is “trigger happy and very unstable.”
Clinton’s campaign dismissed Trump’s criticism.
“When she lays out a thoughtful speech outlining why he is unfit to be commander in chief, he calls her unhinged. She gives a speech on his disturbing history of racial discrimination and ties to white supremacists and the alt-right movement, he calls her a bigot,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “You could dismiss these actions as insecure schoolyard behavior but this man is running to be president of the United States.”