President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for the first time Tuesday night in the inaugural presidential debate of the 2020 general election.
It was a catastrophe. Trump was belligerent, mendacious, and overbearing, refusing to let Biden answer questions most of the time without interruption. Biden managed to get in several good moments, but he was often bulled over by the president’s bluster and was unable to make a complete argument.
But Trump didn’t really seem to get the better of Biden. By being so aggressive, he came off desperate, dishonest, and out of control. It was not a good look for a sitting president. And it completely undermined the supposed point of the debate: informing voters about the issues. Instead, it showcased the candidates’ respective personalities, at least to some degree. While unpleasant, it may have been informative in its own way.
Here are five stunning moments from the event:
1. Trump gets into a fight with Chris Wallace
This happened continuously throughout the night. And Wallace even pointed out that Trump was responsible for far more interruptions.
2. Biden lost his cool with Trump
3. “You are the worst president that America has ever had.”
It may have been an exaggeration — we’ve literally had slaveholding presidents — but the remark had strong rhetorical force.
4. Trump attacked Biden’s son Hunter when the former vice president tried to talk about his late son Beau
5. “I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully”
Trump refused to direct his supporters to reject violence after the election. In fact, he gave them a directive that could very well lead to voter intimidation.