Debate an “interesting hour and a half”


Photo by Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS/MCT

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Isabel Foley, Staff Writer

Many Americans are having trouble comprehending what exactly happened during the Oct. 6 Presidential debate. At the beginning of the debate, which took place just two days before the President tested positive for Covid-19, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News explained the rules, including how each candidate would have two minutes to answer each question and then open discussion for the remaining 15-minute segment. 

It became apparent at the beginning that this was a far cry from a formal debate. Compared to the 2012 presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney — where neither opponent was talking over the other or arguing with the moderator — Tuesday’s debate was one-of-a-kind. 

Within the first few minutes things were going according to the rules; however, at eight minutes there was the first small argument starting with Biden interrupting Trump during free discussion time. The subject was over whether Trump should get to propose a new Supreme Court judge. This also brought into question the Affordable Care Act, which states that children may stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26, and that no one who is sick or has a medical condition may be denied insurance. Trump claimed that there are not 100 million pre-existing conditions. This is false, as a Health and Human Services report from 2017 recorded between 61 and 133 million Americans under the age of 65 have pre-existing medical conditions. 

More arguing commenced at nine minutes in when Biden stated that he is the Democratic party while being questioned on his plans with healthcare. The first time Biden asked Trump to be quiet so he could talk was 10 minutes in. Trump ignored it and continued to talk until interrupted by Wallace. Trump proceeded to argue with Wallace over a question about Obamacare. At 11 minutes Wallace called him out on this saying, “You’re debating him not me. Let me ask my question.”

After Trump answered the question it was Biden’s turn to answer his question about health care, which was about whether or not he supported a government takeover of health, ending private healthcare. Biden repetitively stumbled over his words, specifically medicare and medicaid. 

The President quickly turned to personal insults, questioning whether Biden should have beat Bernie Sanders.

“If Pocahontas would have left two days early you would have lost every primary,” Trump said, using his insulting nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

He would not let Biden finish his sentences continuing with his insults including, saying Biden graduated last in his class (We hear more about this later.) Trump would not let Biden get a word in. Wallace repeatedly tried to get them to talk one at a time, to no avail.  Throughout the next few questions there was continuous interruption from Trump, and Biden turned his attention to the camera.

When asked about Covid 19, the former Vice President managed to go one minute without interruption; he criticized Trump for ignoring the numbers and dismissing the virus. Trump continued to interrupt, saying Biden was wrong. 

At this point the debate seemed to lose all structure; Trump said that there will be a vaccine as soon as Nov. 1. Trump has claimed numerous times that there would be a vaccine soon, and it has been pushed back every time. It took 20 years to create a chickenpox vaccine.

Trump proceeded to call out Biden on where he went to college. For reference, the President went to the University of Pennsylvania for an undergraduate degree in business. Trump completed his first two years of the degree. Biden graduated from Syracuse University’s law school in 1968.

As the debate continued, Wallace struggled to provide equal time for each candidate and to move between different questions as both candidates ignored him. Trump’s rallies were brought into question, and he argued that the mass maskless gatherings were harmless. The argument continued for the next few questions as well as the question of Trump’s Taxes for which amounted to $750. Wallace re-explained the rules and there were fewer interruptions for a few minutes, but that did not last long. 

Trump continued to argue with Wallace to which Wallace replied, “You know, sir, if you want to switch seats we could very quickly do that.”

Wallace concluded saying, “It’s been an interesting hour and a half.”