Interruptions & Name Calling Plague U.S. Presidential Debate

Trump - Biden debate Sept 29 2020

CBJ — One of the biggest losers from Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential debate in Cleveland could be Saturday Night Live. There is no possible way the writers of the NBC late-night comedy show would be able to come up with a more outlandish parody skit than the real-life debacle that happened between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The first of what is expected to be three debates quickly deteriorated into a bitter, mudslinging showdown. Trump repeatedly interrupted his opponent and spoke beyond his allotted time. Eventually, Biden snapped and said “Will you shut up, man?”  Soon thereafter Biden called Trump “a clown.”

Both right wing and left wing supporters agree it was the most chaotic presidential debate in history. It appeared as if Trump refused to wholeheartedly condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group known as Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” He did say “sure” to moderator Chris Wallace’s question of being against such groups, but immediately pivoted in another direction, imploring the public to focus on the left-wing Antifa. Trump called out a number of Democratic led cities as the ones where most of the chaotic anarchy and rioting have occurred.

There were also heated clashes over the president’s handling of the pandemic, with Biden blaming the 200,000 deaths on Trump’s actions. The president shot back by saying if Biden had been president there would have been 2 million deaths by now.

Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News lost control of the debate from the outset, failing to prevent Trump from yelling over Biden. But he also failed to chide Biden for name calling, which was also very unbecoming. A necessary requirement for the moderators of the final two debates is that they be equipped with On/Off switches for the combatants’ microphones.

Trump pushed Biden to name just one law enforcement agency that was supporting him. Biden was unwilling or unable to do so. Trump also repeatedly attacked Biden’s son Hunter Biden on why he was allegedly paid millions of dollars for dealings in Russia and Ukraine. Biden flatly denied the allegations.

A day before the debate Biden released his 2019 tax returns just days after the revelations published in the New York Times about Trump’s long-hidden tax history, including that he paid only US$750 a year in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in many other years. The Bidens paid nearly $300,000 in taxes in 2019. In the debate, Trump insisted he has paid millions in taxes, although he did not provide specifics.

There are already murmurs that the Biden campaign may pull out of the last two scheduled debates on concern that further mudslinging will not benefit his election chances. If the debates do go ahead as planned the second debate will be held in Miami on October 15, and be moderated by Steve Scully of C-Span. The third and final debate is slated to be held in Nashville on October 22 and will be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC.

Election day is November 3, although early balloting is already being conducted in some areas.


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