On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the first presidential debate occurred between the current Republican nominee, President Donald J. Trump, and Democratic nominee, former vice president Joseph R. Biden. More than seventy-three million Americans tuned in at 9 p.m. to watch the two candidates debate for the first time this election season. For many Americans, especially those who are still undecided, this debate was the first time to take a position on whom to cast their voter. This debate though, may not be too helpful for an undecided viewer as the ninety-minute debate was riddled with countless interruptions, back and forth conversations, and inaccurate and inappropriate statements. Although it is unclear for many Americans who “won” the debate, let’s take a look at how our current president, Donald J. Trump, has handled the war of words in order to secure a second term.
One pivotal moment of the debate was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy. Chris Wallace, the moderator of the night, directly asked Trump if he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups, to which Trump replied, “Sure, I’m prepared to do it, but I would say almost everything I see is from left-wing, not from the right-wing.” Biden and Wallace urged him afterward to directly state that he would condemn white supremacists. Trump said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” then immediately changed the topic of conversation back to controlling Antifa and the left. One of Trump’s tactics was to challenge Biden to say certain statements that would lose the radical left. President Trump made comments addressing law enforcement and the Green New Deal, but by refusing to distance himself from white supremacist groups, we see an instance where Trump won’t risk losing his radical right. Many Democrats, however, are taking this one point as the core reason not to vote for Trump.
Another topic of conversation was something that’s been on everyone’s mind all year: COVID-19. The virus was discussed in terms of economics and safety protocols. Trump stated that he only wears masks “when needed” and mocked Biden for regularly wearing a mask. He specifically said that Biden could be “speaking two hundred feet away” from someone and he would wear the biggest mask one has ever seen. Trump also emphasized the need to open the country back up and claimed that Biden would close down and destroy the country. On the 1st of October, it ironically became worldwide news that Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
Trump made a few other notable assertions Tuesday night. He claimed that mail-in ballots during this election would lead to fraud and that he paid thirty-eight million dollars in taxes after a recent scandal revealed he paid only $750 both in 2016 and 2017. President Trump also stated that he has the right to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the presidential election.
Needless to say, Biden has his own views. As citizens of the United States, it is highly encouraged to watch the debate and to educate yourself on where each candidate stands- and eventually make your decision in November. These are only a couple of the highlights of quite a messy debate. Tune in to the next presidential debate on October 15th, 2020 at 9 p.m. for another hour and a half of interventions, insults, and mayhem.