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2020 Debate: “Mr. President Will You Let Him Finish Sir”

By Emma Friedman

The first presidential debate of the 2020 election may go down in history as the worst debate America has ever seen. If you watched the debate live, or even just saw the memes online, you know that it was hard to hear anything over the constant interruptions. The moderator, Fox News Chris Wallace, had to intervene constantly to ask the president to stop talking over Biden during his two minute time window to answer the questions. 

At one point Trump even said to Wallace, “I guess I’m debating you, not [Biden],” after continually interjecting his answers before Wallace had finished asking the question. 

The constant disruptions and sneer comments made it extremely difficult to hear the candidates answers to the hard hitting questions Americans need answers to. When they weren’t disrupted, their answers were still lacking.

Going into the debate, I was truly hoping Biden would surprise me. From his past public speeches, it can be seen that public speaking isn’t exactly his strong suit, so under the pressure of a debate, my expectations were low. As the entire debate was a mess from both candidates, I don’t believe either of them won, but I also don’t believe Biden lost. 

Biden looked into the camera and addressed the American citizens on multiple occasions throughout the debate. I thought this was a great tactic on his part. While seemingly tacky at points, he was trying to relate and speak to each person sitting at home. In a country with no unity, I thought this was really smart. If Biden wants to get the votes of both democrats and republicans alike, he is going to have to relate to each in some way. 

Trump seemed to be angered by this tactic and potentially intimidated. As Biden was speaking to the Americans at home, Trump continually interrupted Biden in the background. For the most part, Biden seemed to stay calm and continue speaking with some great quotes thrown in here and there such as, “Will you shut up man” and “You are president of screwing things up… you’re the worst president America ever had.” 

While I found there to be many problematic things coming out of Trump’s mouth, it was his lack of respect for the process that was truly uncanny. He showed no respect for the moderator or the democratic process by which our country depends on. He went over his time, had outbursts of comments during Biden’s allotted speaking time, and argued with the moderator on multiple occasions.

Not only did Trump show that he believed he was better than the debate by his actions, he also verbally was unable to tell white supremacy groups to stand down. 

Wallace asked Trump if he was “willing to condemn white suppremist groups and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence…” to which Trump seemed to have a hard time answering. Instead of saying white supremacy groups shouldn’t be violent, he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” It is unbelievable to me that these words came out of the mouth of the President of the United States. In his response he also stated that left wing extremist groups are the actual problem. Trump’s inability to condem white supremacy and say all people should be treated equally makes me whole heartedly believe that Trump acknowledged his followers agree with white supremacy. In condemning it, he knows he would lose supporters.

Trump was also left with the question of his health care plan. While constantly criticizing Obamacare since he stepped into office, Trump just recently released his own in an executive order. The Trump Administration has continually taken steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without creating their own better and cheaper health care plan that was promised when he took office. 

One of the scariest things about watching the debate was seeing how easily Trump can lie. He lies in the same tone and style as when he is telling the truth which is what makes it so chilling. An example of this was when he was discussing his federal income taxes. 

In late September, The New York Times revealed Trump’s concealed tax records. His taxes showed that he paid $750 federal income taxes the year he became president and an additional $750 the year after. In the previous 10 years he did not pay any. While this being legal or ethical is up for debate, the Times confirmed this and the reason being due to Trump’s financial losses in those years. During the debate Trump said, “I’ve paid millions of dollars in taxes… millions of dollars in income tax”. 

This statement really took me for surprise, not by what he was saying, but by how confidently he voiced this while it being completely false. After convincing the nation that the media is full of lies and fake news, a highly reputable news source hands us the truth and many American’s don’t take it because an orange man in a debate said so. (An orange man who happens to be a diabolical genius I mean.)

After continuing on to mask shame Biden by mocking him saying he always sees Biden in a mask, Trump ironically tested positive for the virus just days later. When discussing environmental issues, President Trump accidentally said the exact opposite of his administration when discussing relaxed fueling economy standards and the environment. 

The constant arguing, contradictions, and lack of substance made for a very exhausting debate for everyone watching at home.

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