Election 2020: Recapping the first presidential debate


The first presidential debate of 2020 was a lot of things: frustrating, chaotic, and somehow wildly entertaining at the same time. Candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden unabashedly hashed out their grievances against each other for an hour-and-a-half session that resembled couples therapy more than it did a professional debate. Here are some thoughts:


Inaccurate and exaggerated facts

The New York Times conducted a live debate fact-check and found several errors and inconsistencies in the candidates’ arguments. Although both Trump and Biden were guilty of some misinformation, Trump far surpassed his opponent in this area. His statements ranged from slightly misleading to outright lies, while Biden exaggerated a couple of times as well. For one, he stated argued that Trump’s presidency was what brought downfall upon a previously “booming economy,” which is an exaggeration and an oversimplification. On the other hand, when asked to discuss the long-occurring protests in Portland, Trump triumphantly claimed that the sheriff of Portland had expressed support for President Trump. There is no record of such a statement. Furthermore, Sheriff Reese made sure to clarify to the public via Twitter that night that “[He has] never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”

A lack of civility

Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, did his best to maintain a no-nonsense, professional atmosphere and repeatedly urged both candidates to keep it civil, especially President Trump. Losing patience rapidly, Wallace tiredly admitted to the President that, “Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting than [Mr. Biden] has.” 

Biden, mockingly termed “Sleepy Joe” by his opponent, was surprisingly unhesitant to hurl insults right back and call out Trump on his aggressive behavior. Fed up with Trump’s repeated interruptions and attacks on his sons, Biden pleaded Trump to “shut up” and later called him a “clown”. The two candidates undoubtedly brought out the worst in each other during the debate, and their lack of professionalism was saddening.

Refusal to acknowledge a fundamental issue

An especially disheartening moment during the debate was when President Trump refused to condemn white supremacy, a topic that holds much weight and importance in the future of our country. Despite the increased awareness currently being raised about systemic racism in America, it was shocking to hear the President’s blatant dismissal of such an important and widespread issue, 


Ultimately, the debate made for good theater but was a bleak preview on what is yet to come. However, it still doesn’t diminish the importance of voter turnout in this election. In fact, the 2020 presidential election will arguably be the most important in decades. Eligible Gaels, make sure to vote!