By Alexis McCowan, Howard University News Service
On Tuesday evening, Americans tuned in to watch President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden challenge each other face to face in their first presidential debate.
The debate in Cleveland, Ohio was full of talk, but serious policy was not addressed. Both candidates repeatedly interrupted each other on the topics of Coronavirus, Supreme Court nominations, the economy and even each other’s personal lives. Here are a few highlights from what people are calling a bitter debate.
Vacancy in the Supreme Court
The first question to both men was why their position is correct on selecting a Supreme Court nominee in an election year.
Trump recently nominated conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“We won the election,” Trump said. “Elections have consequences.”
Biden countered this remark by saying that citizens have a right to have a say and that “we should wait” until after the presidential election to select the next justice.
Biden was not able to talk for long before being interrupted by Trump, quickly leading to a quarrel.
Wallace made several failed attempts to pacify Trump.
After a few exchanges between the two candidates, Wallace jumped in with the aim of ending the bickering, but he soon started to bicker with Trump himself.
“Please let the vice president talk,” said Wallace.
This would be the first of many interruptions throughout the night.
Trump fails to condemn white supremacists
In another segment, Trump failed to explicitly condemn white supremacists. Wallace asked if Trump would publicly “condemn White supremacists and militia groups and say they need to stand down and not add to the violence.” He immediately directed his attention to Antifa.
“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing,” Trump said, referring to violence at demonstrations.
Trump said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”
“The commander in chief refused to condemn White supremacy on the global stage in front of my children, in front of everybody’s families, and he was given the opportunity multiple times to condemn White supremacy and he gave a wink and a nod to a racist, Nazi, murderous organization,” said Van Jones, the CNN political commentator.
Trump defends himself by bullying Biden
With more 200,000 Americans deaths from COVID-19 and a spike in cases in some parts of the country, Trump was asked about his handling of the Coronavirus thus far. He took the opportunity to insult Biden’s intelligence instead of addressing the question.
Biden said, “He panicked or just looked at the stock market, one of the two, because guess what?” he continued, “A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter a lot quicker.”
In response, Trump said, “Did you use the word smart?” adding, “You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me.”
He continued with a hypothetical.
If Biden was in office, “Two million would be dead now,” he said.
The commission said Wednesday that the debate “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”