President Donald Trump’s grand plan to demolish Joe Biden at tonight’s first presidential debate was shockingly simple: He merely wouldn’t let the former vice president complete a sentence.
Trump talked over his Democratic challenger—and the frustrated moderator, Chris Wallace—from the opening moments of the debate, bullying Biden with a barrage of personal attacks (“There’s nothing smart about you, Joe”) and outright lies. The night quickly devolved into a cacophony of crosstalk, a barely watchable sniping match between two old men. “Gentlemen, you realize you’re both speaking at the same time,” Wallace pleaded at one point, to little effect.
But if Trump’s strategy—such at it was—seemed familiar, that’s because it was the same one he deployed against Hillary Clinton four years ago, and utilizes in his near-daily sparring with reporters as president. His default mode is to bully, and he famously hates to share the spotlight—even when the format of a one-on-one debate demands that he does. Arguably, it’s been effective enough so far. Though Clinton was judged the winner of the 2016 debates, and rose in the polls afterward, Trump won the election. His bulldoze-the-establishment style clearly had some appeal to some voters.
The question is whether the president’s act wears as well now that he’s the incumbent, and at a moment when a deadly virus has ravaged the country and tanked the economy. The polls suggest it does not; Biden is leading Trump nationally and in the decisive battleground states, and there are fewer undecided voters now than at this time four years ago. The former vice president has bet his entire campaign that the nation is tired of Trump’s shtick. Bowing to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden has forgone traditional campaign rallies and door-to-door canvassing. He’s been content to let Trump hang himself, to keep the focus on an unpopular incumbent and his failures in office.
That task was trickier tonight. Biden at first seemed shaky in parrying Trump’s attempt at dominance, unsure of how to handle him. He soon decided to respond to Trump’s unrelenting attacks and interruptions with a simple smile and a laugh—a reaction that implied a shared bond with viewers at home. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar,” Biden said at one point.
Still, Trump talked—and talked, and talked, and talked. He wore down Biden and Wallace, and he might have even worn down the voters. When the debate had exhausted its scheduled 90 minutes, Wallace struggled to cut Trump off just so he could end it. Perhaps that was the point of the president’s barrage, to tear down the already-rickety tradition of the presidential debates just as he’s trying to sow doubt in the integrity of the election itself. Trump’s refusal to play by the debate rules created something of a fog, preventing a coherent back-and-forth that might allow people to decide which man has the better vision for the country. And if voters tune out, Trump reasons, maybe they won’t turn out.
Yet Trump has spent months now telling anyone who will listen that the election is rigged, that mail ballots are a recipe for fraud. For now, many Americans appear to be ignoring him. More than 1 million have already cast their ballot, and voters have flooded state election offices with requests for ballots at an unprecedented clip.
About 20 minutes into tonight’s debate, Biden finally got in a clear, uninterrupted rejoinder to the filibustering president. “Will you shut up, man?” In an evening devoid of much substance to that point, it was the line of the night—the exasperated plea of a man tired of being yelled at and, Biden hopes, the sentiment of a nation that’s ready to move on.
Law enforcement have shown concerns about the group’s menace to minority groups and police officers, and its conspiracy theories
The far-right Proud Boys group whom Donald Trump told to “stand by” during this week’s presidential debate is seen as a dangerous organization by law enforcement, according to leaked assessments of the organization from federal, state and local agencies.
Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists during the debate, and his suggestion that the Proud Boys “stand by” during the current 2020 election campaign sent shockwaves through American politics. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Proud Boys a hate group. Continue reading...
Donald Trump set the tone for a brawl that offered a bleak picture of American democracy
As this annus horribilis grinds toward its close, the first (and final?) presidential debate provided further evidence that 2020 is a bad scriptwriter. What might possibly have been an interesting and even educational exchange turned out to be a distressing and largely unwatchable pissing contest. Continue reading...
The president is behind in key states. Fighting on TV won’t turn things around or win over the sliver of undecided voters left
In a bar-room brawl, who wins the fight? The guy swinging his fists or the guy clutching his drink?
From the very first minute of the first presidential debate, the 45th president behaved as he has for the last four years: as unpresidential as possible. Continue reading...
Athletes reacted with bemusement and dismay after Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacists during the US presidential debate on Tuesday night.
The US president was asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he condemned white supremacists and violence they have caused during recent protests across America. In reply, Trump pointedly did not criticise white supremacists, instead putting the blame for most of the trouble on left wing groups. Continue reading...
Organisation founded ahead of 2016 US election is classified by the FBI as an ‘extremist group’
Freshly brought to the world’s attention by Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn their associations with white supremacist ideology during Tuesday night’s US presidential debate, the US neo-fascist group the Proud Boys was created by the Canadian-British far-right activist and Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016 in the lead-up to Trump’s election as president.
The group, which admits men only, was classified in 2018 by the FBI as an “extremist group”, while the US research and advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists it as a hate group. The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration. Continue reading...
After repeated interruptions from Donald Trump, Joe Biden asks: 'Will you shut up, man?' at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday, as the two clashed over the supreme court. Continue reading...
Joe Biden was interrupted while paying tribute to his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, during the first presidential debate against Donald Trump.
The former vice-president brought up Beau, the former attorney general of Delaware who served in the army, to highlight Trump’s reported criticism of military members as 'losers'. The president cut in and turned the exchange into an attack on the business dealings of Biden’s other son, Hunter, in Ukraine. Despite a Senate investigation, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden, and indeed Trump was impeached for the way in which he was pushing government officials in Kiev to investigate the Biden family.
The president went on to remind viewers of Hunter Biden’s past drug use and falsely accused him of being dishonourably discharged from the military. Joe Biden, looking directly into the camera, explained that like many Americans, his son had struggled with addiction Continue reading...
During the first presidential debate, Donald Trump was pressed on the New York Times story over his tax returns, which showed he paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The president claimed he had paid “millions” in income taxes and said he would release his tax returns soon, which he has been saying since 2015.
Joe Biden said Trump 'does take advantage of the tax code' and 'pays less tax than a schoolteacher'. Trump shrugged off the criticism, saying all business leaders do the same 'unless they are stupid'. The exchange escalated with Biden telling his rival: 'You are the worst president America has ever had' Continue reading...
Donald Trump declined to condemn white supremacists and violent rightwing groups during a contentious first 2020 presidential debate in which the issue of anti-racism protests and civic unrest was one of the topics of discussion. Asked repeatedly by the moderator, Chris Wallace, to condemn the actions of white supremacists and other groups, such as militias or far-right organisations, Trump ignored the question and sought instead to criticise the actions of leftwing groups and activists Continue reading...
Fox News host Chris Wallace, the moderator for the first 2020 US presidential debate, has faced criticism for struggling to rein in interruptions and outbursts from Donald Trump. Throughout the 90-minute broadcast on Tuesday night, the president continually broke the agreed rules of the debate, refused to stick to his own speaking time and steamrolled over both Wallace and Biden Continue reading...
The dismal spectacle reminded viewers what is at stake in November for the US – and the rest of us
One unmistakable winner emerged from Tuesday’s presidential debate: Xi Jinping. The loser was the American public – and anyone else unfortunate enough to have sat through the grim 90-minute spectacle.
Variously described by commentators as a trainwreck, dumpster fire, shitshow and the worst debate in presidential history, it reflected the state of the race and the nation after four years of Donald Trump. This is America in 2020: wracked by a pandemic that has killed 200,000 people and highlighted its deep structural failings on healthcare and inequality, as well as the parlous state of its politics – a realm of bitter divisions in which facts appear to be optional. Continue reading...
If the US no longer stands as an inspirational model for the world, where does that leave those who defer to it?
Ever since the pioneering Kennedy-Nixon encounter in 1960, the questions that political journalists pose after US presidential debates have been the same. Who performed best? Who had the better of this or that part of the argument? Who exceeded expectations or fell short? Who had the best lines and delivered the best zinger? And has any of it changed the election odds?
Related: How the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg could change America Continue reading...
The question framed the existence of a human-made climate crisis as something that is for some Americans still debatable
The long-awaited climate question in last night’s presidential debate broke a 20-year silent streak from moderators on the crisis – thrusting it into prime time but also revealing just how stuck in the past much of the US is on the issue.
After more than an hour of chaos as the candidates talked over each other, the Fox News anchor Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump: “What do you believe about the science of climate change and what will you do in the next four years to confront it?” Continue reading...
Late-night hosts lament the incoherent, off-the-rails presidential debate, from Trump’s interruptions to Biden’s frustration
Tuesday night’s presidential debate was, by most accounts, an off-the-rails train wreck, one quickly trashed by late-night hosts. “Usually when you see two guys this age arguing, it’s about leaves being blown on to each other’s lawns,” said Jimmy Fallon of the 90-minute spectacle which pitted Donald Trump against Joe Biden, both in their 70s, for what turned into an incoherent, sinister mess. Continue reading...
The first US presidential debate was heavily criticized by all sides and did not help the case for undecided voters to head to the polls in November, analysts said after President Donald Trump and
Oil prices dropped on Tuesday as Europe and the United States grappled with a surge in new coronavirus infections and investors remained cautious ahead of the first US presidential debate.
The social media platform has also identified an "uptick" in content related to the far-right Proud Boys, after President Donald Trump declined to condemn the group during the first presidential debate
US televised presidential debates have been puzzling voters since JFK first debated Richard Nixon in 1960.
In this episode, national editor Tory Maguire is joined by North America correspondent Matthew Knott to try to make some sense of yesterday's US presidential debate.
Wall Street has soared to record highs in recent months, seemingly undeterred by the worst pandemic in a century and the enormous toll it has taken on the US economy. But now, politics is giving investors indigestion, and the first presidential debate didn't help.
Wall Street snapped a three-day winning streak as investors took money off the table ahead of the end of the quarter and hours before the first presidential debate.
The first US presidential debate of 2020 between President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden was so chaotic that Taiwan’s Yahoo News anchor Catherine Lu thought there was a technical bug with her earpiece.“I have not often come across this kind of situation!” she exclaimed live on air while presenting in Mandarin. “Trump keeps interrupting Biden, and Biden also interrupts Trump. So [they and the moderator] are speaking simultaneously. It is hard to make out what anyone‘s viewpoint is…
It was probably a relief for Beijing when neither US President Donald Trump nor former vice-president Joe Biden made China-bashing the central focus of their first presidential debate on Tuesday night.Instead, the chaotic head-to-head, which ended up becoming a shouting match heavily laden with personal attacks, has become a target of mockery from Chinese internet users, as nationalism in both countries rises in the face of the spiralling US-China rivalry.With no clear winner emerging from the…
The interest in escaping America is now soaring in the wake of what's been dubbed a "trainwreck" of a contentious presidential debate. Last night, it was never more apparent than on Google Trends.
President Donald Trump attacked former vice president Joe Biden's plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change as likely to wreck the U.S. economy during a presidential debate Tuesday night.
In first presidential debate,Trump says 'almost everything I see comes from the left-wing, not from the right-wing,' while rival Biden calls president a 'clown' and a 'racist'
Susan B. Glasser writes about the first Presidential debate, in Ohio, between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which was marred by the President’s constant interruptions and his threats about the election.
John Cassidy writes about troubling takeaways from the first Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, including Trump’s refusal to denounce a white-supremacist group.
Roger Angell writes about his memories of the 1960 Presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, which was the first such debate to be televised, and the stark contrast presented by the meeting between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
Andy Borowitz jokes that the Joe Biden was so disgusted by his first Presidential debate with Donald Trump that he will participate in the remaining debates by mail.
Trump tried to goad Biden into slip-ups in the first presidential debate, and the whole thing was awful to watch.
President Trump and former vice president Biden participated in the first presidential debate on Sept. 29. The next two presidential debates are on Oct. 15 and 22. The vice-presidential debate between Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) will be held in Salt Lake City on Oct. 7.
PERSPECTIVE Chris Wallace wanted to be “invisible” as the moderator of the first presidential debate. “If I’ve done my job right,” he said on his Fox News show Sunday, “at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?'” It’s an absurd understatement to say that things […]
President Trump and former Vice President Biden faced off in the first presidential debate Tuesday night.
After massive outcry from activists and young voters, debate moderator Chris Wallace questioned President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden about the climate crisis at the first presidential debate. He did not include it in his initial list of debate topics. Kate Aronoff, author and staff writer at The New Republic, says she didn't expect climate change to come up, but was unsurprised by the responses. "We've known for years that Donald Trump denies the science of climate change," she says. "And we know that Joe Biden doesn't support a Green New Deal."
During the first presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly criticized President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 205,000 people in the United States — the highest death toll in the world. Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask, while claiming that a vaccine would be available within weeks. "It was very bizarre," says Marc Lamont Hill, author and professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University. "The idea of not erring on the side of caution is representative of the entire Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 crisis."