NBC anchor Lester Holt, who has nearly 40 years of reporting experience, described it as a “low point in American political discourse.”
Last night began the series of debates for the upcoming presidential election, which will continue through October. Over the course of an hour and a half, moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden about the Supreme Court nominee, COVID-19, the economy, healthcare, climate change, their records, the issue of race and election integrity. Though the debates are just beginning, over a million people have already cast their ballots and evidence suggests most have already made up their minds.
Only 20 minutes in, Biden exclaimed, “Will you shut up, man?”
Throughout most of the night, Trump interrupted both Biden and Wallace. At one point, Wallace had to remind Trump that his campaign officially agreed to letting each candidate speak uninterrupted for 2 minutes.
Biden reminded viewers whenever possible of numerous failures under the Trump Administration, such as his response to COVID-19, the current recession and his relationship with Putin.
On top of constant interrupting, Trump attempted to paint a portrait of Biden as a radical leftist (noting untrue affiliations with ANTIFA and the Green New Deal) and asserted the Obama Administration was slow to rebuild the then post-recession economy.
In one notable interruption, Trump’s reaction to Biden describing his late son Beau as a patriot was to bring up son Hunter Biden’s drug use and rumored business dealings.
“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him.”
In true politician fashion, plenty of questions went without direct answers. When Wallace asked Biden if he supported the Black Lives Matter movement, Biden said he does not support defunding the police and thinks police need to get to know their communities. Wallace questioned Trump if he condemned the white supremacists. His response was that the violence seen in cities like Portland is all from the left.
Wallace’s final question asked both candidates if they will pledge not to declare victory until the election has been individually certified. Biden gave a straightforward “yes.”
“If it’s a fair election, I’m 100 percent on board,” Trump said. “But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”
“It’s been an interesting hour and a half,” Wallace concluded.