2020 Debate: Does Trump Need a Timeout Room?


Received from The Week

Khenady Isabel Kuczynski

Chaos irrupted within the first 10 minutes as Donald J. Trump, and Joseph R. Biden squared off in the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Health Education Campus (HEC) Samson Pavilion at Case Western Reserve University. Both Trump and Biden were there to share their presidential candidate views on United States and worldwide matters in a debate format with topics given to each candidate prior to the debate.

The first of three presidential debates between President Donald J. Trump, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, was moderated by Chris Wallace. Wallace is the “Fox News Sunday” anchor and a veteran of presidential debates. He moderated the final 2016 presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) picked Wallace to moderate the first of three 2020 presidential debates. Wallace was unbiased in his line of questioning, and the topics he chose but at times it became a boxing match with Trump asking questions to Wallace.

The topics were relevant. They covered: The Supreme Court, nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the Coronavirus Pandemic outbreak; the economy; race and violence; the candidates’ records; the climate; and the integrity of the election. However, within less than 10 minutes it had dissolved into schoolyard taunts. It appeared as if Trump was intent on disrupting Biden, which reduced Biden to name calling, and they never stayed on topic. It is unclear what voters got from the debate since it turned into the two talking over each other repeatedly and when Wallace tried to intervene Trump interrupted him as well. As Wallace tried to moderate the debate, Trump interrupted him so much that Wallace said, “If you want to switch seats, we can do that.”

Aside from repeatedly interrupting Biden and Wallace, Trump mislead, exaggerated, and had a willingness to lie to those watching the debate. He refused to condemn white supremacists, instead criticizing “the left wing” for violence in cities. Several times, Trump focused his attacks on Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, with misleading statements designed to rattle Biden. Former Vice President Biden was more truthful, although he appeared irritated and frustrated, he stood his ground much of the night. The longest topic they stayed on was the Coronavirus Outbreak.

It reached a point, when Biden was speaking about his late son’s military service in Iraq, that Trump once again interrupted and attacked Biden on his other son, Hunter Biden, on his drug addiction. Biden remained calm and composed, he responded that he was proud of his son with his recovery and loved him. With Trump’s constant interruptions Biden finally said, “Will you shut up, man?” and at another point referred to Trump as a “liar” and a “clown.”

This debate was so unpresidential, Biden tried to be civil as Trump had a smug look on his face and brought out all the one liner comments he could. Biden needs to gain some street fighting skills and not be so nice. Though he may not have set the world on fire, Biden made many points to look into the camera and speak directly to the American people.

Received from BBC News