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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

‘Worst debate in history’: Lawmakers, experts react to Biden-Trump presidential debate

The chaotic 90-minute event was punctuated by constant interruptions, squabbles between the two candidates and desperate pleas from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the debate’s moderator, to maintain decorum.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 30, 2020 4:50:03 pm
US Presidential Debate 2020 Highlights: Trump claims he paid ‘millions’ in income tax, Biden tells him to ‘Shut Up’US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, US, September 29, 2020. (Reuters)

With weeks to go before the US presidential election, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden went head-to-head in what is widely being touted as one of the worst presidential debates in history by social media users, politicians and political commentators alike.

The chaotic 90-minute event was punctuated by constant interruptions, squabbles between the two candidates and desperate pleas from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the debate’s moderator, to maintain decorum. Irked by Trump’s repeated interjections, a visibly irritated Biden at one point retorted, “Will you just shut up, man?”

As the debate wore on, reactions from leading lawmakers and election experts began pouring in on social media.

Here are some top reactions:

Condemning Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacists during the first debate, former Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren painted a bleak picture of what she called “Donald Trump’s America”, accusing the US President of fanning the flames of racism and using state violence against Americans exercising their rights.

Trump’s Democratic contender from the 2016 election Hilary Clinton said that the debate reaffirmed her faith in Biden’s abilities and experience.

READ | ‘Knew it was going to be bad…’: Memes and jokes that summed up first US Presidential Debate

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, with moderator Chris Wallace, center, of Fox News during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Former Vice-President Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, too, slammed Trump for his performance during the debate. “Tonight, America was presented with a choice: a leader who offers a clear path forward vs. an angry, interrupting bully,” Senator Harris tweeted.

Meanwhile, some conservatives, Republican lawmakers, and members of the Trump campaign lashed out at the debate’s moderator Chris Wallace, accusing him of being biased against the US President. Several of these posts were retweeted from the official handle of President Trump.

Republican politician and businessman Darrell Issa criticised Biden’s take on how the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 205,000 people in the US, should have been handled.

American political sociologist Larry Diamond called the debate the worst in US history. He accused Trump of having no respect for rules or for democracy. “It was repulsive to watch this bullying spectacle. An angry, authoritarian President who won’t commit to accept the election results,” his tweet read.

CNN anchor John Avlon called the event a “disaster”, largely blaming Trump’s performance in the debate.

Several social media users, including author Stephen King, also called for Trump’s mic to be switched off when he interrupts Biden.

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