Different Takes: Lessons On The First Debate Or Brawl Or Worse
Editorial writers focus on public health care topics and strategies of the first debate between President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden.
The Wall Street Journal:
A Depressing Debate Spectacle
No one expected a Lincoln-Douglas debate, but did it have to be a World Wrestling Entertainment bout? Which may be unfair to the wrestlers, who are more presidential than either Donald Trump or Joe Biden sounded in their first debate Tuesday night. The event was a spectacle of insults, interruptions, endless cross-talk, exaggerations and flat-out lies even by the lying standards of current U.S. politics. Our guess is that millions of Americans turned away after 30 minutes, and we would have turned away too if we didn’t do this for a living. Mr. Trump no doubt wanted to project strength and rattle Mr. Biden, but he did so by interrupting him so much that he wouldn’t let Mr. Biden talk long enough even to make a mistake. (9/30)
Trump-Biden Debate Brawl Embarrassed The U.S.
I’ve watched a lot of presidential general election debates. This was the first time that I spent much of the time hoping that the feed to foreign nations was somehow disabled, because what we saw Tuesday night — what President Donald Trump did on Tuesday night — was so deeply embarrassing to the nation. Whether it was the constant interruptions, or the refusal to condemn right-wing violence, or the false claims about the voting process and how they undermine the democracy, or the steady stream of false statements, or the habit of casting blame on anyone and everyone except for himself, or the wild conspiracy-theory rantings, Trump spent 90 minutes demonstrating how he’s not fit for the office he holds. (Jonathan Bernstein, 9/30)
First Presidential Debate -- Here's Who Won On Style And Substance
President Trump was weakest on the topic of the coronavirus, which is unsurprising. The pandemic is a clear political vulnerability for the president, given that most public polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus. Likewise, Biden was strongest during the coronavirus discussion. Biden landed solid attacks on Trump for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus early on, which he argued has contributed to 200,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. doing dramatically worse than the rest of the world. (Doug Schoen, 9/30)
Biden Wins First Debate, Trump Is Truth’s Worst Enemy
Trump has no health care plan, but relentlessly tries to tear down our health care even amid a global health crisis. And voters know the next Supreme Court justice will help decide whether preexisting health conditions — perhaps including lung scarring and heart damage from COVID-19 — can be used to deny them care. Now Trump says his nominee to the high court must be confirmed in time to rule in his favor when he contests election’s results — a heinous violation of the judicial independence our system requires — even though most Americans want the person elected president just weeks from now to make the pick. (Rep. Eric Swalwell, 9/30)
The Washington Post:
Pundits’ Horrified Debate Reactions
While the pundits zeroed in on Trump’s constant interrupting and talking over Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace’s inability to gain control over the night, one moment in particular caused extreme distress for several commentators: Trump telling the far-right Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” when asked by Wallace whether he would denounce white supremacists. “We are in an immoral swamp of misbehavior,” Van Jones said on CNN. “This was not a normal night.” (Elahe Izadi, 9/29)