Last updated: 10:55 AM ET, Tue September 27 2016

Donald Trump Calls US Airports 'Third-World' In 1st Presidential Debate

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 27, 2016

Donald Trump Calls US Airports 'Third-World' In 1st Presidential Debate

 Photo via via Flickr/Gage Skidmore 

Donald Trump might be the Republican candidate for President of the United States, but he sure likes to mimic a Democrat’s previous assessment of American airports.

During Monday night’s debate against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump again referenced U.S. infrastructure and again used the phrase “third-world country” to describe several major airports, just as current Vice President Joe Biden did two years ago in talking about New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

“You know, it’s one thing to have a $20 trillion debt and our roads are good and our bridges are good, everything is in great shape,” Trump said. “(But) our airports are like from a Third-World country. You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible – you come in from China – you see these incredible airports and you land ... we’ve become a Third-World country. So the worst of all things has happened. We owe $20 trillion and we are a mess. We haven’t even started.”

Trump then looked at Clinton and said it was career politicians who have caused the problems, turning the U.S. into a debtor nation.

“And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals and we don't have the money because it has been squandered on so many of your ideas,” he said to Clinton.

She shot back: “And maybe because you have not paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”

Biden infamously said two years ago that "If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 o'clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said 'Where do you think you are?' They would say, 'This must be America. This is a modern airport.’ If I took them blindfolded and took them to LaGuardia airport in New York, he would like 'I must be in some third world country.' I'm not joking."

The debate on Monday was not the first time Trump has trolled Biden’s statement. In May, after Trump won the Indiana primary City, he used the same phrasing.

According to The Hill, Trump said he would spend more than $500 billion on infrastructure, which he said would be “at least double” the amount Clinton would invest. He has declined to say how he would pay for his massive new government program.

Clinton, the former Secretary of State has outlined a $275 billion infrastructure plan that does address the need to accelerate aviation technology and invest in airports. “Hillary will invest in building world-class American airports and get the Federal Aviation Administration's 'NextGen' program back on track to modernize our national airspace system. These changes will reduce carbon emissions and save travelers and airlines an estimated $100 billion in avoided delays over the next 15 years,” a fact sheet on her website said.

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