By N. Elmôr
The first Presidential Debate for the 2020 United States elections took place last week on the 29th of September between the two major candidates for this year: Donald Trump and Joe Biden. BBC News labelled this debate as “one of the most chaotic and bitter White House debates in years”, and for all of those who watched the debate, this was quite evident. The two presidential candidates discussed an array of policies and subjects ranging from healthcare, the economy and the current pandemic.
The debate took place in Cleveland, Ohio under necessary precautions against the COVID-19 virus and lasted 90 minutes. A characteristic of this event was both candidates regularly speaking over each other. Current President Donald Trump frequently interrupted his opponent Joe Biden. According to CBS News Trump interrupted him 73 times during the debate many times telling him to “shut up”.
One of the most popular discussions that came after the debate came from when the moderator Chris Wallace (an anchor from Fox News) asked President Trump if he was prepared to condemn white supremacists. Despite the president initially saying he would, when he was asked to denounce the far-right group Proud Boys Trump refused to do so. The Proud Boys are an all-male anti-immigrant group. Trump instead decided to turn the discussion towards condemning Antifa (is an anti-fascist left-wing political group of activists), he said: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”
Currently, Biden is leading the presidential polls, and his lead has remained stable throughout the length of the campaign. Many argue that the ‘winner’ of the debate was Biden who showed he could hold up under pressure. The fact that Trump repeatedly interrupted and hectored Biden meant that the former vice-president did not have the “chance to say something truly damaging to his own cause”.
After the debate, Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager said that “President Trump just turned in the greatest debate performance in presidential history, displaying a command of the facts and control of the conversation”. However, David Urban, a member of Trump’s advisory committee admitted to CNN that it had not been Trump’s “best night by a long shot” and that the current president “could have condemned white supremacist groups “more forcefully”. Biden’s running mate, vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris said that “America was presented with a choice: a leader who offers a clear path forward vs an angry, interrupting bully.” CNN summarized the event as an “absolutely awful debate”.