PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have taken the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Chicago.
The first-ever presidential debate, which will air on CNN later on Thursday, was hosted by moderator Jake Tapper.
Trump’s performance has been among the most polarizing since he announced his candidacy for president in 2015.
He has repeatedly attacked his opponent’s character and policies, including her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump also said he was the only candidate in the race who had no intention of changing the Republican Party platform.
During Wednesday night’s debate, Tapper was asked whether Trump was ready to address the issue of whether the Republican party was the “party of Lincoln.”
“We have to go back to the fact that the Democratic party has been the party of Lincoln,” Trump responded.
“The Democratic party, the party that has never been honest about the war in Vietnam, has never changed their policy on abortion.
They’ve never changed anything.”
He added, “We’ve never taken a position on anything.
The Democratic party will never take a position, ever, on anything.”
Tapper followed up by asking, “So when you say you’re the only one who’s ever changed your position, that means you have changed your party, because the Republican leadership, the people, they’re never going to change their position.”
Trump shot back, “Jake, I am the only guy who’s changed the party.”
“I am the ONLY guy who changed the Democratic Party, Jake,” Trump said.
Trump and Clinton also clashed on immigration, arguing that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “self-deportating” and “selfish.”
Clinton responded, “I don’t believe that.”
Trump went on to say that the country is at war with Mexico, calling it a “dictatorship.”
Clinton also attacked Trump’s comments during a campaign rally in Ohio that he would deport undocumented immigrants living in the United States and “send them back to where they came from.”
“If they’re here illegally, if they’re living in a country that doesn’t respect our laws, that doesn’s a problem,” Trump told a crowd.
“And we’ve got to go after them.”
The Republican nominee has also faced questions about his position on gun control.
He said in October that he has “a lot of ideas on gun safety,” but said that he was “not a fan of the kind of gun control that we see on the left.”