If you missed the first Trump/Biden debate, that pretty much sums up the substance of it
If you click here, or on the photo below, you’ll get a video clip of the pertinent segment, which we do suggest you watch.
Why? Because it’s almost impossible to untangle it enough to transcribe. But we’ll try:
Chris Wallace (Moderator): “Are you willing tonight to condemn White Supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities, as we saw in Kenosha, and as we’ve seen in Portland?”
President Trump: “Sure I’m willing to do that…”
Wallace: “Well, go ahead sir…”
President Trump: “But I would say, almost everything I see is from the Left wing. Not from the Right wing.
Wallace: “So what are you saying…?”
President Trump: “I…I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”
Wallace: “Well, then do it sir.”
Joe Biden: “Say it. Do it. Say it.”
President Trump: “You want to call them…? What do you want to call them…? Give me a name. Give me a name.”
Wallace: “White Supremacists…”
Joe Biden: “Proud Boys.”
Wallace: “…And Right wing militia.”
President Trump: “Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what: somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the Left. Because this is not a Right wing problem. This is a Left wing, this is a Left wing problem.“
Joe Biden: “His own FBI Director says the threat comes from White Supremacists. Antifa’s an idea, not an organization.”
President Trump: “Oh, you gotta be kidding me!”
Joe Biden: “His FBI, his FBI Director said.”
President Trump: “Well you know what? He’s wrong.”
One or two other random observations:
- Trump wore a suit that seemed unusually large in the shoulders.
- Biden called Trump a “clown”. Twice.
Biden responded emotionally and genuinely to one particular shot from Trump. And that might even be surprising considering it was a moment for which he probably was very rehearsed: an attack by the President on his son Hunter. Which Trump stomped into awkwardly. “My son,” Biden replied, “like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.” Here’s a link to a clip of that part of the debate.
Trump again fanned flames of mail-in ballot fraud, with a particular focus on Pennsylvania. At one point simply exclaiming: “Bad things happen in Philadelphia“. As if that, on it’s own, is airtight proof. It’s pretty clear right now Trump sees that state really as the key to his fortunes. Which likely also means he thinks he’ll win Florida.
As to the question we’re hearing from both sides as part of post-debate punditry: should there even be two more debates? The answer is clear: Yes.
This election is already at least partly—and a big part—a referendum on what “crazy” looks like to some people vs. what “strong leadership” looks like to others. So really, whatever side you’re on: what have you got to be afraid of?