First presidential debate: poorly moderated mud slinging, Biden lost
Joe Biden countered almost exclusively with personal insults: “You want to shut up, man!”
It was an encounter of historic proportions: Donald Trump and his presidential opponent Joe Biden met on September 29 in the first pre-election debate.
There was already a controversy before the debate started: the Trump team had recommended checking both candidates for microphones in the ear, a proposal that was vehemently rejected by the Biden team. Biden had asked for a break every 30 minutes, which in turn was rejected by the Trump team. The Trump campaign declined the request for brief interruptions. A Trump spokesman told Fox News , “Our man doesn’t need breaks. He always gives 90-minute speeches. ” Trump even suggested a blood test for performance enhancing drugs.
The range of topics was considerable. The recent appointment of a Supreme Court Justice, Obamacare, health insurance, COVID-19, taxes, racism, climate change and political philosophy were all hot topics.
Each candidate had 2 minutes to make a statement, then the open debate began. More than once both interrupted each other, so that there was an immediate battle of words. Unfortunately, the moderator Chris Wallace did not score with assertiveness. He criticized Trump in particular across the board, although both made faux pas and abusive comments.
As expected, one of the recurring topics was the coronavirus.
Trump attacked Biden’s statement against closing the United States and against an entry ban for the Chinese: “The country would have remained open. It was China’s fault. I closed the borders and you said I was xenophobic … Democrats said I did a phenomenal job. People who weren’t on my side said that. Masks, suits, breathing apparatus. Fewer people get sick and die. No matter what we do, we get bad press, you get good press.” He also accused Biden of not having acted quickly and competently enough during the last major health crisis of H1N1 – which broke out during Biden’s vice presidency in the United States.
Biden’s personal attacks accumulated in the 90-minute debate. Sayings like “Everything he has said so far is a lie. Everyone knows that he’s a liar”, “It’s difficult to achieve anything with this clown” did not come from Trump – who is known for his loose tongue – but from the slick Biden. After only 20 minutes, Biden burned with anger: “Will you shut up, please, man,” he said to the President.
Trump, on the other hand, counted on the argument of reconstruction and a quick return to normal: “We closed the economy and now we are rebuilding it. We have gotten 10 million people back to work, more than ever before. He would close the economy again. … He would close our country and destroy it … People want to open the shops and work again.”
In addition, Trump declared COVID-19 a political issue that is being exploited by the Democrats. “The vaccination could have been done much faster, but it will be postponed until the election because it is a political issue.”
On the subject of racism, Trump spoke of the low unemployment rate among black Americans and the general improvement in their economic situation. He attacked Biden by quoting racist remarks from his political career.
Trump also defended his recent decision to stop ‘awareness-raising’ in schools: “Hate was taught in our schools. We need to return to the core values of our country. It was taught that our country is racist. That has to stop.”
Biden’s remark about the many anti-fascist terrorists who have been razing America’s cities for weeks and months was particularly embarrassing. He said: “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.” Trump countered: “He cannot say ‘law and order’ because then he would lose the support of the radical left.”
“You cannot use the word ‘law and order’ at all,” said Trump. In fact, although prompted, Biden did not use those words.
One of the strongest arguments from Trump’s side – besides the increase in jobs – was that by the end of his first term in office, he had appointed 300 judges and 3 judges to the Supreme Court. “Obama left me with 128 vacancies – that couldn’t have been a good politician.” This includes the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who has dominated the media headlines for days.
Both had to answer questions about climate change. Trump stated, “I want crystal clear air and water. I want a clean environment. Look at our results, but I don’t want to destroy the economy at the same time. We also planted 1 billion trees. “
Trump criticized the poor park maintenance as the reason for the major forest fires in California, since dried out trees are simply left lying.
Joe Biden spoke of large-scale subsidies for electric cars, the ‘Green New Deal’ and that his first decision: “will rejoin the Paris Agreement.”
In conclusion, Trump warned against forging ballot papers and called on his voters to vote honestly.
The debate was the first of three debates both candidates had agreed to participate in. The next debate will take place on October 15th.