A debacle is about the best way to summarize the first debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. It was so contentious that the moderator, Chris Wallace, had to repeatedly beseech Trump to allow Biden to answer a question. You can get the gist of things by checking out this early sample from the transcript as they began their exchange on COVID-19.
Vice President Joe Biden: “I’m happy to talk about this.”
President Donald J. Trump: “And if you were here, it wouldn’t be 200, it would be 2 million people because you were very late on the draw. You didn’t want me to ban China, which was heavily infected. You didn’t want me to ban Europe.”
Chris Wallace: “All right, gentlemen, Mr. President.”
President Donald J. Trump: “You would have been much later, Joe, much later.”
Chris Wallace: “Mr. President.”
President Donald J. Trump: “We’re talking about 2 million people.”
Vice President Joe Biden: “You’re not going to be able to shut him up.”
Chris Wallace: “Mr. President, as the moderator, we are going to talk about COVID in the next segment. But go ahead.”
And go ahead Trump did without any consideration for a conventional debate, content, it seemed, only to command the conversation and bully his opponent with aggressive comments and inaccuracies.
For the most part, Biden did little to relinquish his lead over Trump in the various polls, and Trump did nothing to persuade undecideds to join his base, which he appealed to on several occasions.
A clear indication of his outreach to supporters occurred with his refusal to disavow white supremacy and his instruction that “Proud Boys,” the reactionary group, “stand by.”
When Wallace asked Trump about why he decided to end racial sensitivity training and if he believed there is systemic racism in this country, Trump said he ended the training because “it’s racist. I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane.”
In his response to the issue, Biden said, “The fact is that there is racial insensitivity. People have to be made aware of what other people feel like, what insults them, what is demeaning to them. It’s important people know. Many people don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, but it makes a big difference. It makes a gigantic difference in the way a child is able to grow up and have a sense of self-esteem.”
At times Biden was so flustered by Trump’s interruptions that he snapped back, even calling him “a racist” and “a clown.”
From the onset it was evident that Trump, as ever, was not going to play by the rules, and would do his best to create chaos and confusion.
Two more debates are scheduled and if the general public’s response is any barometer, they would do better to cancel them because we will only be served another helping of Trump’s combative bullying without any information of value.