After a quiet, calm, and relatively subdued greeting between candidates, incumbent Donald Trump and former VP Joe Biden settled in for a respectful exchange of ideas in the first televised presidential debate. The two candidates fielded a question by debate moderator Chris Wallace about the now-vacant seat previously held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The presidential debate quickly devolved from there, becoming excessively unpresidential with every passing minute. The candidates’ language took a southbound turn, and both candidates roared, hammered, and jawed for position, frequently yelling over each other.
Sparks flew, insults were hurled with abandon. Barbs were traded early and often between Trump and Biden over a number of hot-button issues like Obamacare, abortion, and Covid-19. At one point Biden’s frustration boiled over:
“Will you shut up man.”
“Will you shut up, man.” Biden asked rhetorically in a standout moment from the debate as Trump continued to talk over him. Trump was forced onto defense after repeatedly facing pressure from Wallace over his Coronavirus response. At one point Trump implied that he was debating Wallace and Biden. Trump took the insults in stride, striking a blow in reference to Biden’s claim that he would shut the country down if the scientists recommended it. Biden falsely claimed at another moment that there are “millions of scientists” working on Covid-19.
Trump and Biden continued firing personal shots across the bow, with Trump landing a zinger of his own.
“DID YOU USE THE WORD SMART? YOU FORGOT THE NAME OF YOUR COLLEGE.”
“Did you use the word smart? You forgot the name of your college.” Trump to Biden questioning Biden’s mental health. Trump moved on to draw crowd-size contrasts between himself and Biden, falsely stating, “Joe does the circles and has 3 people at some places.”
Biden’s responses and retorts flagged somewhat directly after these zingers, as one question after another focused on Trump’s handling of Covid-19. But his (Biden’s) momentum picked up again after Wallace asked Biden to explain a K-Shaped recovery. Biden seized on the opportunity, bringing a hammer down on Trump over (Trump) having allegedly paid $750 dollars in income taxes. Biden quickly followed that presser by saying that Trump would be the first president in U.S history to leave office with less jobs growth than any president in U.S history.
PLOT TWIST : In a stunning turn-of-events, Trump denied a major tax story published by the New York Times on September 27th. The Times reporters claim that his (Trump’s) tax returns show he only paid $750 in 2016 and 2017. Trump repeatedly denied the claims, stating that he (Trump) had paid “millions of dollars” in taxes for the years in question.
With the debate continuing to spiral out of control, Chris Wallace attempted valiantly to prevent the televised showdown between Trump and Biden from devolving into a street fight or backyard brawl. To no avail, more zingers followed:
“YOU’RE THE WORST PRESIDENT AMERICA HAS EVER HAD.”
“You’re the worst president America has ever had.” Biden to Trump about his (Trump’s) record as President.
“We’ve done more in 47 months than you did in 47 years.” Trump’s response to Biden.
“It’s hard to get any word in with this clown.” Biden to Trump in defense of Biden’s son (Hunter Biden). Trump was referencing a congressional report that was recently published, allegeding that Hunter Biden might have received millions of dollars from Ukraine.
The debate took yet another turn when debate moderator Chris Wallace asked both candidates, Trump and Biden, to address the issues of racism and systemic racism in America. Wallace asked Trump to once again denounce white supremacists and militias. Trump responded with “sure” and “I’d be willing to do that.” After being pressed again by Wallace, Trump asked for Wallace to give him a name to condemn. Wallace put forward the Proud Boys.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” Trump put forward, before adding that Antifa was a real threat.
Other notable statements from the first presidential debate:
“What is peaceful protest? When they run through the town and burn the stores.” Trump to Biden.
“Antifa is bad and they will overthrow you.” Trump to Biden on Antifa and violence propagated from the left and right.
“I am the Democratic Party.” Biden early in the debate.
“He’s Putin’s puppy.” Biden to Trump near the end of the debate.
“Your son was dishonorably discharged for doing cocaine.” Trump to Biden about his (Biden’s son Hunter).
“You called the military stupid bastards.” Trump to Biden in response to report of Trump disparaging military while in France.