In the first Presidential Debate Trump Swings and Misses

Graphic made by Melissa Joseph

Melissa Joseph

Graphic made by Melissa Joseph

The first of four presidential debates, between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, went exactly as one might expect: chaotically. The debate, if you can call it that, was essentially 90 minutes of interjections and personal attacks.

From the very opening, Trump made it clear that he was not going to let Biden talk about anything without interjecting or talking over him. Even the moderator, Chris Wallace, had a difficult time reigning in Trump as he continuously talked out of turn. At one point in the debate, it even appeared as though Trump was trying to argue with Wallace, to which Wallace responded that he was here to moderate, not debate with him.

Each candidate, prior to the debate, agreed that they would each get two minutes to answer the moderators questions, with time to respond to each other’s policies and statements. The first half of the debate showed that Trump had little regard for the rules, as he commented and interrupted the former vice president every time he spoke. It was clear that this was his strategy, as his poll numbers have been low compared to Biden’s, yet it is unlikely that his strategy brought any undecided voters to his side.

The candidates were asked questions regarding the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, global warming, safety during protests in cities and more. Yet, the most dangerous answer came when Wallace directly asked Trump if he would condemn white supremecist and militia groups who are also wreaking havoc in cities. Trump responded by saying that he only sees violence happening on the far left, to which Biden responded saying “Do it, say it, say it”. 

Instead of condemning the groups, the president, when asked about a group of white supremacists known as the Proud Boys, said “Stand back. Stand by.” Clearly, this was absolutely unheard of as not only could he not condemn them, but he also encouraged them. Shortly after the debate ended, online forums were filled with white supremacists applauding the president and saying they are ready. 

Another issue with the debate were the personal attacks leveled by the president against Biden. At one point, Trump mentioned Biden’s son Hunter, and brought up his past drug addiction. Biden responded by looking directly at the camera and speaking to the American people, rather than letting Trump distract him with petty personal blows.

Biden, overall, did a solid job during the debate. He stumbled over a few of his words and had trouble speaking over the president’s rambling, but for the most part did not fall for the traps Trump tried to bait him into. In a general consensus by media outlets, Biden was declared as the winner of the debate.

Whether these debates will turn any undecided voters one way or another is unlikely. It seems at this point most people have already made up their minds, yet it also shows that American politics have become more of a show than an actual respected aspect of our system. In future debates I believe it should be a requirement that the moderator has the option to turn off a candidate’s microphone in order to avoid interruptions, as this debate was one of the most hectic and embarrassing political performances in recent memory.

Jack Lewis can be reached by email at  [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAttack722