First Presidential Debate Recap


Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

The first 2020 presidential debate out of three between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden took place on the evening of Sept. 29. It took place in Cleveland, Ohio, with only about 80 people in the room, making it an unprecedented event. The moderator was Chris Wallace from Fox News.

Because of the events of the debate, commentators from all sides of the political spectrum have agreed that it was chaotic. Many people have made jokes, memes, and comments about the debate, making it hard for some to understand what actually happened. 

The debate covered topics such as the pandemic, health care, the economy, voting, the Supreme Court, and racial injustice.

Oftentimes during the debate, Biden was seen trying to appeal to the people by looking directly into the camera. Trump was also seen making faces, as well as shaking his finger and head at Biden’s statements.

Biden claimed that Trump “has no plan for healthcare. He sends out wishful thinking… he hasn’t lowered drug costs for anybody.” 

He also pointed out that within Obama’s last three years of office, the unemployment rate dropped more than it had during President Trump’s first three years of office, before the pandemic cost nearly 22 million people their jobs.

The subject of mail-in ballots featured Trump repeatedly arguing that ballots cannot be trusted, and that they are a bad and disrespectful thing for the United States. Biden retorted that it takes time for everything to be mailed and that some envelopes in some states cannot be opened until the day of the election.

Trump and Biden also discussed the voting process and voting. When asked how their supporters will react, Trump simply responded by telling his supporters to be vigilant.

Biden, on the other hand, said that “once the winner is declared after all the ballots are counted, that will be the end of it.”

Trump also made waves when he did not condemn white supremacists and claimed that Biden does not support law enforcement. Biden defended himself by accusing Trump of racism. 

Part of what made viewers consider the debate chaotic to observers was that Trump constantly interrupted both Biden and Wallace. Trump “spent Tuesday’s debate using the same tactic he uses in the White House briefing room: interrupting.” Biden was also seen interjecting. Not only did this make the debate hard to follow, but it also created confusion for viewers.

Overall, Trump interrupted Biden 73 times and spoke for about 38 minutes while Biden spoke for 43. 

The Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization that has run the presidential debates since 1988, said it will consider making changes to help moderators, like Wallace, keep order. 

The next debate between Trump and Biden will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15, while a faster approaching debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Vice Presidential Democratic-nominee Kamala Harris will be on Wednesday, Oct. 7.


Photo courtesy of NYTIMES.COM