The much anticipated first debate between US President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden , occurred on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020 from 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM EST. However, the highlights were more on the drama and the clashes between the two US presidential candidates, marked by bitter attacks and frequently talking over each other, to the apparent dismay of the debate moderator.
The debate was held in Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion, Cleveland, OH, hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic at their Health Education. Chris Wallace, a Fox News journalist, served as the moderator.
During the debate, hundreds of protesters, with signs showing the messages, such as “all lives can’t matter until black lives matter” marched. Some held balloons depicting the president in unfavorable postures. The protesters, rallied by the Cleveland-based progressive groups, included Black Lives Matter Cleveland, the Sunrise Movement, the Coalition to Stop Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail and Black Spring CLE.
Below are the major points that marked the evening.
Moderator gave in to the debators.
Almost at the onset, the debate moderator Chris Wallace, couldn't control the flow of the debate, to the point of not being able to ask the question.
On one question about the proposition of health care plan to replace Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, Chris Walace said, reacting to President Trump cutting him off on several occasions: “If I may ask my question, sir”
President Trump interrupted with: “First of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him. I’m not surprised.”
Former Vice-President Biden could not longer take it.
In early minutes of the debate, President Trump kept interrupting and talking over both former Vice-President Joe Biden and Chris Wallace. The debate, back-and-forth word exchanges and talking over each other made the debate a verbal match and a chaos, with unintelligible words.
At some point, when President Trump repeatedly talked over him, Joe Biden said: “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential.”
CHris Wallace tried to save the moment with a the next topic area, but Joe Biden seemed to have had enough when he said: “that was a really productive segment, wasn’t it? Keep yapping, man.”
The Debate turns into: "Who’s smarter that the fifth grader show"?
When it came to COVID-19 pandemic and its devasting consequences, the debate, instead of offering what each candidate would do, rather turned to who is smarter than the other. Joe Biden stated that hundreds of thousands more people may die from COVID-19 unless President Trump got “a lot smarter, a lot quicker.”
To this, President Trump questioned the intelligence and IQ of Joe Biden, saying that Joe Biden “said he went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn’t go to Delaware State. He graduated the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me.”
To which Joe Biden retorted: “Oh, give me a break.”
Masks, Masks, and No Masks.
President Trump, holding his mask, insisted that he was never against wearing masks. He then turned the conversation back to Joe Bidem and said: “I don\'t wear a mask like him [Joe Biden]. Every time you see him, he' s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from you, and he’s wearing the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Joe Biden retorted: “Masks make a big difference. If we just wore masks between now and social distanced between now and January, we would probably save up to 100,000 lives.”
Tax Return and Judgment on the Presidency.
On Sunday, Sep 27, 2020, The New York Times reported earlier that President Trump paid only $750 in 2016 and again in 2017 in income taxes and zero income tax in 11 of the 18 years, by reporting massive losses and taking advantage of tax breaks and refunds.
Biden said: “The tax code that put him in a position that he pays less tax than a schoolteacher on the money a schoolteacher makes is because of him — he says he's smart because he can take advantage of the tax code, and he does take advantage of the tax code. That's why I'm going to eliminate the Trump tax.”
Trump had earlier said that he paid "millions of dollars" in income taxes, to which Biden said: "Show us your taxes then".
Joe Biden challenged President Trump for taking advantage of the U.S. tax code and promised to eliminate tax cuts under Trump’s tax law. President Trump did not wait to question the record of Joe Biden on Tax reform, for more than “25 years” as a senator.
Joe Biden then made the most ear catching judgment on President Trump\'s presidency, by saying: “Because you weren’t president, screwing things up. You\'re the worst president America has ever had. Come on.”
Racism, White Supremacy, Proud Boys, Antifa, and Suburbs
The most tragic moment of the evening was perhaps when racism and White Supremacy came into play. Responding to a question about why he and his administration have ended racial sensitivity training, President Trump said: “it’s racist, a lot of people were complaining ... If you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and frankly, very sick ideas. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, it\'s a racist place, and they were teaching people to hate our country and I\'m not going to allow that to happen.”
Joe Biden interrupted President Trump and said: “Nobody is doing that. He is racist.”
Chris Wallace asked then President Trump to publicly condemn white supremacists. Chris Wallace said: "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."
President Trump asked for an example, and Joe Biden mentioned "Proud Boys". In his answer, President Trump said: “Proud boys, stand back and stand by, " before moving the focus to antifa, "But I' ll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left ... a dangerous, radical group,”.
He then said: “This is not a right-wing problem. This is left-wing.”
On Suburbs, Trump said that if Biden is elected, “Our suburbs would be gone, and you would see problems like you've never seen.”
Joe Biden than accused President Trump of “dog whistles and racism” in referring to the suburbs, before adding: “You would never know a suburb unless you took a wrong turn. I was raised in the suburbs. This is not 1950... They are being flooded, they are being burned out because of his refusal to do anything. That is why the suburbs are in trouble”
President Trump and Former Vice_President Biden attacked and went on each other over their controversial records on racial injustice.
Joe Biden criticized Trump for calling a group of white supremacists in Charlotteville, Virginia “very fine people” in 2017 and for the use of tear gas on protesters in summer following the death of George Floyd. He said:“This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division. You talk about helping African-Americans. One in 1,000 African-Americans has been killed because of the coronavirus\"
President Trump retorted by accusing Joe Biden of calling African-Americans criminals “super predators” during the work on the 1994 crime bill.
President Trump said: “You called them super predators, African-Americans, super predators. And they 've never forgotten it. You have treated the black community about as bad as anybody in this country.”
Family, Putin's Puppy, mail-in voting, etc.
Another tragic and emotional moment came when the family members became the center of the attacks. Joe Biden was emotional when it came to defending his son, but refused to engage in discussions on family members issues and problems.
However, when it came to foreign affairs, Joe Biden, to highlight his diplomatic shills, said “I’ve gone head to head with Putin and made it clear to him we\'re not going to take any of his stuff. [Trump] is Putin 's puppy.”
What left many people worried is perhaps that issue about the positions of the two candidates on credibility of the voting process itself.
For Trump: “There is fraud; they found them in creeks, they found them with the name Trump in a wastepaper basket. This will be a fraud like you have never seen... I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I cannot go along with that.”
Joe Biden called people to “show up and vote”, before adding "This is not going to end well"
Reactions from the left and the right on President Trump's statements about White Supremacy.
The reactions did not take time to pour down, with several statements to the media or tweets, when asked or reacting on whether President Trump should have condemned white supremacists:
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black senator, told reporters : "I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wallace' s comment. He was asking Chris what he wanted [him] to say, I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn't correct it, I guess he didn' t misspeak"
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): "With regard to the white supremacy issue, I want to associate myself with the remarks of Sen. Tim Scott. I think he said it exactly correctly, and that’s exactly how I would express myself on that issue."
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-C.A): "I really slept five hours combined both nights"
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "I agree with Sen. Tim Scott' s statement about President Trump needing to make it clear Proud Boys is a racist organization antithetical to American ideals."
- Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah): "of course..It was not a Lincoln-Douglas debate, that' s for sure."
- Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said, "He should have been very clear, and he should have made it very clear that there 's no room for people on the far left or the far right when it comes to either an antifa or these white supremacist groups. He should have been very clear.
@AfroAmerica Network, 2020