The 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate Was A Big Ol’ Mess, Here’s Why

Earlier today, on the 29th of September—or 30th September midday, if you’re here with us in Australia—the United States Presidential Candidates, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump, went head to head in their first Presidential Debate. And, needless to say, it was an absolute mess. 

Here are the big takeaways from the 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate with President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden does not like Donald Trump

If there was one thing this Presidential Debate proved it was that Joe Biden does not like Donald Trump. At one point, Biden completely loses his patience, remarking, “it’s hard to get any word in with this clown.” In another, he simply says, “will you shut up, man?”

Joe Biden kept turning to the camera instead of addressing Trump

This rage and complete and utter disgust towards his Presidential competition was no better demonstrated by Biden willingly directing his response to Trump not to the orange baby man who’s made a series of dangerous decisions to various minority communities this year alone, but to the camera. 

Trump refused to condemn white supremacists

At one point, moderator Chris Wallace brings up the issue of white supremacy and racism in the United States, and asks Donald Trump if he will condemn white supremacist groups in America. His response? Deny, deny, deny. Oh, and again blame ANTIFA—an alleged far-left anarchy group that Trump’s own FBI has said is “merely an ideology” and not real. 

“I’m willing to do that,” Mr. Trump began answering, before instead saying that “almost everything I see is from the left wing. Not from the right.”

Eventually, after continuing to dance around the subject, Biden suggested he condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right organisation widely condemned as a hate group. It was there that Donald Trump made his wildest comment on the night, “Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by.”

“Stand back I tell you what, I tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about ANTIFA and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.”

Choosing to respond to a question asking to condemn a far-right group of racists by simply shifting blame to an alleged far-left equivalent is the very definition of distraction but also shows that Trump has more in common with white supremacists than he likes to lead on. 

Per The New York Times, Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, said: “The problem is not that Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. It’s much worse. It’s that he acknowledged he was their leader by telling them to ‘Stand by.’”

Donald Trump continued to spout nonsense about COVID and mask wearing

When asked about the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to wear a mask, Trump mocked Biden’s decision to regularly wear a mask, despite y’know, health experts recommending it along with social distancing. This is from the man who refused to wear a mask for months and claimed that this would all be resolved by Easter, then by the U.S. summer and now Christmas. 

“I don’t wear a mask like him,” Trump said, with full invisible clown makeup seemingly on. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve seen.”

All I gotta say is, act a fool, girl. Act a fool.

In what feels like a Bill Shorten trademarked zinger, Biden eventually calls back to Trump’s suggestion that his ignorant and willing supporters should consider injecting bleach into their bodies to fight COVID—a comment he later said and now claims was sarcastic. 

Amidst all that, Donald Trump wouldn’t shut up

Have we learned nothing from the last six or so months of Zoom meetings and virtual classes? As I say about all things on the internet, the mute button exists for a reason. It’s a mighty weapon against online bullying, spoilers and harmful content. 

Unfortunately, at the Presidential Debate, that power was not used, but it sure was required. Throughout the night, Donald Trump would not stop interrupting Biden or Wallace. In the lead up to the debate, Wallace admitted he wanted to be “as invisible as possible.” But, as Trump began trampling over his ability to moderate and interject in the middle of Biden’s allocated two minutes to respond to a question, Wallace joined in the shout-fest but caught in the wave of Trump’s bullshit. 

The worst part was Trump wasn’t even adding anything meaningful to the debate. He would interrupt, add in a random jab at Biden’s personal life or career in a strawman’s game of chess, and act like a child. And, it was exhausting. When Wallace finally reminded them both that they needed to let each other speak and that both would have their time to respond to the other’s comments, Trump, like a spoiled troubled child, simply said, “he’s been doing it, too.” No wonder Wallace eventually and frustratedly joked to Trump, “if you want to switch seats?”

Interestingly, the debate did not go into foreign policy and immigration, but we can expect to hear more about the two’s perspectives on the topics—or Biden’s as Trump tries to talk over him again—when the second Presidential Debate begins. Next week, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate’s Vice Presidents, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, will go head to head at the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate.

Header image source: AP

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.