US President Donald Trump and his opponent in the upcoming election, former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in the first of three presidential debates that a CNN commentator summarised on air right after it was done as a “shit show.” The host, Fox News’ Chris Wallace struggled to control the debate, with Trump constantly interrupting and speaking over Biden, prompting the latter to at one point say “will you just shut up man?” to the president.
Wallace went over a number of key issues – the Covid-19 crisis, climate change, the US economy, Trump’s tax returns and more – but the broader impression was simply of a referee unable to rein in one of the contestants. At several moments over the course of the one and a half hour debate, Wallace had to yell over the US president and request that he stop interrupting. On one of these occasions, in fact, Trump interrupted Wallace just as he was asking the president to stop interrupting.
That moment is a reliable distillation of the evening, though there were important moments, such as Trump refusing to condemn white supremacists – saying “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by”, which sounded more like an order – and Biden attempting to tell the American people that they under this president they are “weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided, and more violent.”
Trump managed to unnerve his opponent by claiming that under Biden the US would have a lot more Covid-19 deaths than the 200,000 thousand it has already seen, and directly attacking his son, Hunter Biden, leveling accusations that he was corrupt.
Biden – who has consistently led in the national polls over the last few months – in turn, used the opportunity to call Trump a liar, a fool, a clown and more. Remember there are two more of these still to go, although the next debate will be between the vice presidential candidates, the incumbent Mike Pence and Kamala Harris on October 7.
Here’s how Twitter saw the debate playing out: