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6 takeaways from the first derailed debate between Biden and Trump

2020-09-30T07:26:40.106Z

Here are six takeaways from the first of three presidential debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.



Trump: "You will see my statement once it is audited" 0:33

(CNN) -

President Donald Trump turned the first debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden into a chaotic mess.

Trump intimidated, ran over and obscured his path during the 90-minute standoff, interrupting Biden and Fox News moderator Chris Wallace at all times.

  • CNN Post Debate Poll: Six in 10 Say Biden Won

He ignored Biden's substantive questions and political arguments and instead launched himself against a caricatured version of Biden, targeting both his son and a distorted description of his record that exists primarily in far-right media.

On top of Trump's interruptions, Biden responded by mocking the president, calling him a "clown," "a racist," and "the worst president America has ever had."

He criticized Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his inability to produce a health care plan, and his response to protests over racial injustice.

Over and over again, Wallace tried to regain control of the debate, without success.

When Trump complained that only he was being punished for speaking out about Biden's questions and answers, Wallace responded, "Frankly, you've made more interruptions."

Trump, who trails Biden in national and swing state polls, made little effort to reach out to voters who currently don't support him.

  • This is the position of Biden and Trump on 9 key issues: from immigration to covid-19

He could have further damaged his position by refusing to condemn white supremacists after he was asked to do so multiple times.

Here are six takeaways from the first of the three presidential debates:

Trump does not condemn white supremacists

Repeatedly and directly, Biden called Trump a racist.

"This is a president who has used everything as code language to try to generate racist hatred, racist division," said the former vice president.

During a portion of the debate that focused on race relations, protests, violence, and the police, Trump tried to link Biden to the violent and destructive elements of the protests over the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and others, even as Biden has condemned the violence.

Trump also claimed that America's suburbs, which have leaned in favor of the Democrats during his tenure, would "disappear" if Biden is elected.

"I would not recognize a suburb unless it took a wrong turn," Biden responded, adding that "this is not 1950" and Trump's code language "no longer works."

He said Trump's handling of the pandemic and the weather has damaged the suburbs.

The section ended with Trump steadfastly refusing to condemn white supremacism when asked by Wallace and Biden to do so.

"Stand back and wait," he told the white supremacist militia group 'Proud Boys', in a moment reminiscent of his response to the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

«The commander-in-chief refused to condemn white supremacism on the global stage in front of my children, in front of everyone's families, and was given the opportunity several times to condemn white supremacism and winked at a racist organization , Nazi and murderous, "said Van Jones, CNN political commentator.

"That's the only thing that happened tonight," he said.

"That's what happened tonight."

Contest the election

Amid a barrage of misinformation and falsehoods about voting by mail, Trump failed to confirm the only thing he was asked about it: whether he would encourage his supporters to be peaceful if the election results are unclear.

"I'm encouraging my supporters to go to the polls and watch very carefully," Trump said when asked what he would say to his supporters in a post-November 3 world.

After issuing his usual falsehoods about widespread voting fraud, albeit now in front of a new mass audience and without a shred of fact-checking from the moderator, Trump declared that he would not support an outcome under certain circumstances.

"If I see tens of thousands of ballots being tampered with, I can't accept that," Trump said.

It was a response that will do little to allay fears of post-election chaos.

For his part, Biden insisted that if Americans vote in large numbers, presumably for him, a contested election could be avoided.

Anything but coronavirus

If Trump has one overriding strategy in the final days of the campaign, it is to divert attention from the coronavirus pandemic, which voters say in polls he has mishandled.

It has been apparent for months that Trump is eager to move on.

And if his goal Tuesday was to obscure his coronavirus record, Trump may have been successful.

Despite Biden's attempts to inject the topic back into the discussion periodically, the debate turned into arguments and bickering that ultimately did not focus on the global pandemic, which has already left 1 million people dead.

Trump openly said the vaccination process is political, mocking Biden for wearing a mask.

And, instead of a strong defense of his record, he claimed that a hypothetical President Biden would have done worse.

The reduced audience and the lack of a handshake also brought the health crisis to the atmosphere of the debating hall.

And Biden made multiple references to the 200,000 Americans who have died.

But ultimately, the debate was not about the pandemic.

It was about Trump's belligerence, which in his opinion can only be considered positive.

Take control - and speak - of the Supreme Court

The dominant issue on Capitol Hill right now is Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But while the debate began with questions about the high court, the details were largely lost amid the chaos, as Trump interrupted Biden's responses and Wallace struggled to control a debate headed for disorder from its initial moments.

Biden tried to turn the discussion into one about health care, pointing to the possibility that a Supreme Court with a conservative 6-3 majority will repeal the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Also to annul the court decision Roe v.

Wade of 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide.

Trump tried to force Biden to nail down progressive proposals to end Senate obstructionism and expand the Supreme Court.

"Why don't you answer that question?" Trump said.

However, none of those substantive differences really made its way, as Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and the moderator and the two candidates spoke on top of each other.

'Why don't you shut up, man?'

Biden to Trump: Why don't you shut up, man?

0:43

Biden responded largely to Trump's obfuscations and interruptions with rolling eyes, head shakes, laughter and "Come on, man" comments.

He never lost his temper, but made it clear how little he thinks of Trump.

The first example came about 18 minutes into the debate, when Biden responded to a series of interruptions from Trump by saying, "Why don't you shut up, man?"

You are the worst president the United States has ever had.

Come on, ”Biden said later, as the two debated taxes and the economy.

"This clown is hard to talk to," he said later.

  • The first presidential debate turned into chaos as Trump derailed the night with insults and interruptions

And at the end of a part focused on race, Biden said bluntly, "He's the racist."

Family matters

It took Trump about 45 minutes to raise a topic his advisers said he was eager to address: Hunter Biden.

Trump and his allies have repeatedly made baseless and false claims alleging that the former vice president and his son acted corruptly in Ukraine.

It's an issue Republicans believed at some point would dominate this year's campaign, though it has failed to hold up amid a global pandemic, urban violence and an economic recession.

Still, some Democrats wondered how Biden would respond when the issue came up.

Some feared that, sensitive to family matters, he would lose his cool.

Instead, Biden seemed prepared and spoke directly to the camera as he sought to refute Trump's claims that his son committed wrongdoing when he served on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company.

"This is not about my family or his family, it is about the families of you, the American people," Biden said.

He doesn't want to talk about what you need.

Undeterred, Trump kept coming back to the topic.

As Biden tried to criticize the president for allegedly referring to the American war dead as "losers," he mentioned his late son, Beau, who served in Iraq before succumbing to brain cancer in 2015.

Rather than refute claims about his views on the military, Trump sought to return the debate to Hunter Biden.

"I don't know Beau Biden," Trump scoffed.

When Trump launched an attack on Hunter Biden, including on the subject of his past problems with drug addiction, Biden looked back at the camera and addressed the issue, even as Trump was trying to interrupt.

"My son had a drug problem, but he got over it and I'm proud of him," Biden said.

The personal moment was powerful and could forge a bond between Biden and millions of Americans whose families have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

Presidential debate United States

Source: cnnespanol

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