President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have concluded their very first debate of the 2020 Presidential campaign cycle. The crowd was limited and there was only one moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News. Leftist pundits on news outlets are already calling for the remaining scheduled debates to be canceled because of the chaotic nature of this one. But that’s an entirely different story. There is quite a bit of ground to cover from the 90-minute debate.
The debate was held in Cleveland, Ohio in front of a limited audience that consisted mostly of family and friends to the Presidential candidates on stage. The “moderator,” Chris Matthews, instructed the audience to not clap or make noise during the debate. The scheduled time for the debate was 90 minutes with two minutes of uninterrupted responses and also periods of time for open exchanges between the candidates.
One quick glance at the political side of Twitter during the debate would have the average person believe that Trump was like a bull in a China shop, interrupting Joe Biden every few seconds. While Trump did do quite a bit of interrupting, even CNN said that he only took up about a minute and fifteen seconds more speaking time than Joe Biden. The reality is that Joe Biden was allowed plenty of time to get his remarks out. The nature of a debate is back-and-forth exchange. Trump does this very well but Joe Biden, not so much.
President Trump had to contend with both Joe Biden and Chris Wallace as opponents. Before the Fox News debate, Wallace said that his goal was to be nearly invisible as a moderator. Unfortunately, that was simply not the case. Wallace was as visible, if not more than, Joe Biden himself. And there were several times where Chris Wallace came to Joe Biden’s rescue. Trump cornered Biden when the issue of law and order was raised. The President asked Biden to name one law enforcement group who supports him and Biden was not able to answer. Chris Wallace jumped in to save the day and he moved on to another topic.
Trump and Biden approached the debate with different styles. Biden largely read from his notes and looked into the camera to essentially give a speech to Americans when certain key issues were raised like race and the virus. Trump actually debated by making points and counterpoints. An example of Trump’s debate style can be seen clearly when the issue of climate change arose. Joe Biden laid out his plan to combat climate change with talking points which are also seen in the Green New Deal. Trump made it an issue to identify Biden’s plan as the Green New Deal and point out the $100 trillion dollar price tag. When Biden refused to acknowledge it as the “GND”, Trump said: “you’ve lost the far left.”
Chris Wallace brought up the issue of race and asked Trump if he would denounce white supremacy and white nationalism. Trump said “sure” twice while Chris was asking the question. Then Chris went in a different direction, while asking the same question, to try and rope in the Kenosha incident which implies that he’s referring to Kyle Rittenhouse. There is no evidence that Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist. Although Trump did, and has many times throughout the years, denounce white racist organizations, he did not denounce Kyle Rittenhouse or specific incidents not necessarily linked to white racism.
Trump and Biden debated about a variety of issues, although the debate was mostly one-sided in favor of Trump. Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and the $3.5 million wire transfer he got from Moscow’s Mayor’s wife were brought up. Black community issues in general were raised. The “suckers and losers” alleged comment from Trump about the military came up. All within the course of 90 minutes.
Finally, the concept of a “free transition” was brought up. This is the typical thing where the left (or in this case, Chris Matthews) ask Trump if he will accept the results of the election and ensure a “fair and free transition” from his administration to the next. Trump rightfully brought up the fact that the left did not give him a free or fair transition. They did not accept the results of the 2016 election hence the spying, Russiagate, impeachment, and so on.
Donald Trump won this debate and it wasn’t close. In my opinion. Biden did not do a good job of debating. He had some decent pre-prepared mini-speeches, but that’s about it. Trump actually came to the debate… to debate. And he did just that.