Chris Wallace, Fox News anchor and moderator of the first presidential debate of 2020 between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, had has hands full from the first second of Tuesday night’s (Sept. 29) debate, and not much changed for more than 90 minutes.
Wallace, the lone moderator of the first event managed by the Commission on Presidential Debates, set six topics for the debate: the Trump and Biden records, the U.S. Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in cities, and the integrity of the election. However, almost every question and response resulted in each candidate interrupting or being interrupted and Wallace at several points having to raise his voice in an attempt to gain control of the debate.
The debate became an open argument between the two candidates with frequent interruptions and the candidates talking over each other, sometimes with insults.
“Keep yapping, man,” a frustrated Biden said at one point.
“You know what, there is nothing smart about you, Joe,” Trump said.
Later in the debate, Wallace stopped to ask Trump to be silent. When Trump attempted to argue that Biden was also interrupting, Wallace noted: “Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting.” Wallace at one point chastised Trump by reminding the president that his campaign promised to follow debate rules, and hoped he would honor that promise by allowing Biden to complete his answers.
Following are some of the few discernible points made by each candidate during the debate.
• On nominating Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett so soon before the election, Trump noted: “I will tell you very simply we won the election. Elections have consequences.” He added that “very few people knowingly” would not push for a Supreme Court confirmation if given the chance.
• Biden said the move to nominate and confirm Barrett is because Trump and the GOP want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which provided abortion rights to women.
• Trump said he should be re-elected because no president has done more than he has even in the midst of the “impeachment hoax.” Trump also said he has been successful in appointing more judges than any other president, including three Supreme Court justices, although only two have been confirmed.
• Biden said that under Trump “we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer and more divided.”
• When Trump said “we will have the (COVID-19) vaccine very soon,” Biden responded by asking “do you believe for a moment” what Trump says about the vaccine “considering all the lies he’s told you about COVID?”
• When Wallace asked Trump if he would provide his tax records for 2016 and 2017, Trump did not directly answer, but said he paid “millions of dollars” in those years, and was just following allowable tax laws, some of which were passed during the Obama administration.
Following are other debates scheduled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. All debates are scheduled for 90 minutes – without commercials – and are set to begin at 8 p.m. (CST).
Oct. 7: Vice-presidential debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
Oct. 15: Second presidential debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami
Oct. 22: Third presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville
Talk Business & Politics contributors Dr. Jay Barth and Robert Coon offered their analysis of the debate in a conversation with TB&P’s Roby Brock. You can watch their comments in the video below.