Politipress: The first debate was clownery, to say the least

In the latest installment of Politipress, WSPNs Caterina Tomassini discusses the first of three presidential debates that took place on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Credit: WSPN Staff

In the latest installment of Politipress, WSPN’s Caterina Tomassini discusses the first of three presidential debates that took place on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tuesday’s presidential debate was nothing short of a complete and utter disaster. Many of us anticipated an unproductive debate, but none of us could have prepared ourselves for the constant interrupting, insult-throwing, out-of-control behavior that took place on national television.

The debate had a strange start, as the two candidates were unable to shake hands due to the coronavirus pandemic, but President Trump wasted no time in turning it into a screaming match. The first round was about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, but it soon turned into an elementary playground discussion, with insults thrown both ways by two grown men who were supposedly candidates that would run our country.

Similar to many elementary schoolers, Trump was unable to listen to direction and wait for his turn to talk, as he repeatedly interrupted former Vice President Joe Biden despite moderator Chris Wallace’s attempts to intervene. The segment was heated until the very end, with Biden shaking his head and saying, “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential.”

In round two, Wallace continued to struggle to reign in the debaters, eventually raising his hand and yelling, “Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Stop!” Unsurprisingly, this plea for civility came after the topic of tax returns was mentioned. Trump, a professional deflector-of-all-important-questions, denied allegations of paying only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, fiercely arguing that any other person would do the same, “unless they’re stupid.” Per usual, Trump refused to respond to Biden when he suggested that Trump, “show [us] his tax returns,” leaving Biden no choice but to tell Trump that he was, “the worst president America has ever had.”

The clownery continued as Trump proceeded to interrupt Biden, and Biden proceeded to ignore Trump. It could have been Biden’s strategy to be the “bigger man,” so when Trump took the liberty of cutting off Biden, Biden took the liberty of using the camera as his tool. He looked straight into the camera as if directly addressing the American people, and answered the questions. Some of Biden’s most memorable one-liners while addressing voters included:

“The president has no plan.”

“You should get out of your bunker and sand trap.”

“14,000 people died of the [2009 swine flu], not 200,000.”

Trump, on the other hand, lacked any ability to directly answer even the simplest of questions, nor could he afford Biden his two minutes to plead his case. Wallace had to remind Trump several times that he had agreed to the rules of the debate. “Why don’t you observe what your campaign agreed to do?” Wallace asked.

If I were Biden, I would’ve had to take a step out of the room in order to maintain my dignity, but the former VP managed the situation well, considering the subpar circumstances.

Biden’s attempted, arguably successful approach—keeping his cool to depict a calm and collected grownup—was a smart one, as his incumbent opponent constantly rattled his snake tongue and further proved himself to be nothing short of a crybaby. Sure, Biden opened his mouth out of turn a few times, but how can we expect him to sit quietly and passively whilst taking Trump’s verbal abuse?

If anything, Biden showed his readiness to handle the unideal situations presidency entails, while Trump only proved he possesses less self-control than Biden and a clamorous voice.

The end of the “debate,” if we can even afford it that title, left many, if not all questions unanswered, and me with uncertainty as to how either candidate will improve our crumbling country. This clown show accomplished nothing other than assuring me that I don’t want to watch the next one.