President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden faced off on Tuesday night in the first of a series of presidential debates for the 2020 election, leaving much to be desired.
The 90-minute debate attempted to cover a range of hot-button topics and featured incomprehensible cross-talk and bitter personal attacks. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News struggled to regain control of the debate.
Commentators such as CNN’s Jake Tapper went as far as to call the Trump-Biden debate a “hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.”
It was clear that President Trump’s strategy of the night was not to win over any new voters but to steamroll both Biden and the moderator’s questions and thoughts, while Biden’s plan was to pull at America’s heartstrings by addressing them directly.
Biden repeatedly turned directly to the camera for refuge during the interjections and spoke coherently, contradicting months of allegations on his mental fitness thrown from the Trump campaign.
As the first item in the debate, President Trump defended his entitlement to nominate Amy Coney Barret for the Supreme Court, claiming that a Democratic president would have done the same thing.
“I’m not elected for three years, I’m elected for four years,” Trump said.
Biden disagreed, saying the winner of the election should have the right to make the Supreme Court nomination as the American people vote for a new president.
When pressed about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump defended his response to the pandemic, citing that the restriction of travel with China in January saved lives.
Trump also diverted attention away from himself and instead toward Biden, poking fun of the former vice president’s mask-wearing habits and small crowds at his campaign rallies.
As the night went on and the topic of mail-in voting came around, Trump once again expressed his concern that mail-in voting this election may be invalid.
Trump also failed to affirm encouraging his supporters to be peaceful if election results are unclear when asked to do so by moderator Wallace.
“If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that,” Trump said when asked about whether he will accept the election results.
If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that,”President Donald Trump
The topic of systemic racism and police brutality came up in the debate as well, with Trump pointing out Biden’s “loss of the radical left” with his stance on providing more training for police officers as well as “community policing” rather than defunding the police.
When asked by the moderator to denounce “white supremacists and right-wing militia,”
Trump responded by calling out the Proud Boys, a male-only group known for their street violence, which he then followed up with a direction to “stand back and stand by.”
Trump then changed the subject by placing blame on Antifa for the rioting across America. Biden responded to the claim by saying, “Antifa is an idea, not an organization. That’s what the FBI director said.”
Although the quote sparked some outrage, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott told reporters Wednesday that he thought the president might have misspoken about the Proud Boys, and called on President Trump to correct his statement if that is the case.
When the debate shifted to cover the military, Biden took the moment to mention his son, Beau Biden, who served in Iraq. Trump then took the opportunity to mention Biden’s other son, Hunter Biden, who was discharged from the military due to drug use.
Conversely, Biden also gave his fair share of personal attacks from multiple chuckles at the President, calling Trump a “clown,” asking him “shut up, man” and even went as far as to call Trump “the worst President America has ever had.”
The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15, in Miami, Florida.