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President Donald Trump faced former Vice President Joe Biden for the first presidential debate Tuesday night in Cleveland. It was a televised headache.
In theory, Chris Wallace was the moderator but immediately proved ineffective at controlling the two septuagenarians bickering for the next 96 minutes. By the end, it felt like the debate was between Trump and a Wallace/Biden tag team.
Trump came out swinging, peppering Biden with interruptions and real-time fact checks. He criticized the Democrat’s 47 years in Washington and pointed out how little he accomplished during that half century.
Biden lost his cool several times, telling Trump “Will you shut up, man?” oddly followed with “Keep yappin’, man.” He called the President a racist, a clown, a liar, and the worst president in US history. He directed most of his remarks into the camera, while Trump faced Biden throughout.
Overall, the Democrat held up well during the break-free debate, making minimal gaffes and keeping a level energy throughout. The Trump team lowered expectations so much that it ended up helping him. The President, however, was definitely the most energetic man on stage.
This is where I’d usually discuss the policies discussed but this brawl was far more UFC than Oxford Union. I offer sincere prayers for the transcriptionists trying to document this thing. It was an hour and a half of crosstalk.
Biden refused to answer whether he supported packing the courts, claimed his Biden-Sanders Manifesto didn’t exist, at one time criticized lockdowns then later supported them.
Trump pressed Biden on the lawlessness raging through Democratic-led cities, Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deals with shady foreign potentates, and the dangers of mass mail-in voting.
Wallace and Biden hit Trump hard on COVID, climate change, and critical race theory (which Wallace deceptively cast as mere “sensitivity training”). The “moderator” seemed balanced at first; by the end, he and Biden were shaking their heads and laughing with each other at Trump’s aggressive approach.
The New York Times headline says it all: “Chris Wallace Tries to Rein In an Unruly Trump at First Debate.” It is not the job of a moderator to “rein in” either side. The fact that a Fox News host ran interference for the Democrat does not bode well for bias at the next two debates.
The next debates are scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will meet on Oct. 7.Published in