On Wednesday, analyzing the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann, and Melissa Holzberg's key takeaway was that President Donald Trump's only strategy is to "burn it all down."
"Trailing in the polls with five weeks to go, President Trump didn’t use last night’s debate to disqualify his opponent or outline his vision for the next four years," they wrote. "Instead, he decided to burn down the debate — by constantly interrupting, not engaging on the substance, offering falsehood after falsehood, and questioning the legitimacy of the upcoming election."
Trump talked over Biden and moderator Chris Wallace so incessantly that Biden resorted to saying, "Will you shut up, man?" — possibly one of the most memorable lines from the debate.
Ultimately, they wrote, this strategy is unlikely to give Trump a boost — not even in the "friendly terrain" of last night's debates, where he received more questions about the Supreme Court and violent protesters than the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Biden didn’t put away the race with his debate performance last night, but Trump certainly bailed him out by ensuring that the spectacle of last night’s train wreck would be the top takeaway; by not even trying to change this race from a referendum on him into a choice versus Biden; by refusing to denounce white supremacists when he was given the opportunity; and by attempting to delegitimize the entire debate," they concluded.