Bearcats react to Trump and Biden clashing in first presidential debate



Emanuela Gallo, Editor-in-Chief

President Trump and former Vice President Biden participated in the first presidential debate on Sept. 29. The moderator was Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday.”

Numerous issues were brought up, including the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court, race, violence in American cities, healthcare, the economy, climate change and voting.

The interruptions and crosstalk resulted in a chaotic tone, lacking true substantive debate on the issues.

When Trump suggested that the socialist wing of the Democratic party would implement their agenda in a Biden presidency, Biden replied, “I am the Democratic Party right now.”

Trump also defended his decision to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, saying, “We won the election and we have the right to do it.”

“I’ll tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job that we did,” Trump said in reference to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “You don’t have it in your blood.”

Biden landed some insults as well, calling Trump a “clown” and “racist.” He also asked the president, “Will you shut up, man?” after being interrupted.

More conflict ensued when Biden said, “You’re the worst president America has ever had,” to which Trump replied, “I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years.”

Key moments from each candidate have been drawing attention in the days following the debate.

Trump has been accused of failing to condemn, “white supremacists and militia groups,” when asked to do so by Wallace.

Detractors have criticized Trump’s language on the Proud Boys, a right-wing group with a violent history, when he asked them to, “Stand back and stand by,” during the debate.

Supporters of the president, however, have defended his statement by pointing out other comments made throughout the debate, like, “Sure, I’m prepared to do it,” and, “I’m willing to do anything, I want to see peace.”

When asked about the election in November, the president said, “I’m encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

Interruptions and insults were common in the debate, as both candidates bickered and provoked one another.

When Wallace asked about Biden’s small campaign events, Trump interjected claiming that, “Nobody shows up to his rallies.” He also said that there’s, “nothing smart,” about Biden.

Demetrios Ventouratos, the treasurer of the College Democrats of Baruch club, offered his thoughts on the debate.

“It is clear that Trump encouraged his supporters to go out there and engage in voter intimidation and voter suppression. I’m not surprised that Trump did that, but I’m worried that this will promote even more unrest,” he said about Trump’s comments on the election. “Even before the debate, there are some signs of this occurring with Trump supporters committing voter intimidation in Virginia, and with two people being arrested in Michigan for spreading disinformation about mail-in voting through mass robocalls.”

Ventouratos said that he believes that Biden won the debate.

“Biden’s greatest strength was his calm demeanor and his tendency to try and connect with the viewers at home. Those traits made him look better, and highlighted Trump’s unpresidential behavior,” he stated.

This sentiment was shared by Baruch political science professor Viviana Rivera-Burgos.

“There was very little discussion about the actual issues facing the country or the candidates’ policy proposals to address them. The constant interruptions, talking over each other, disregard for the allotted time, accusations and insults — all of which came overwhelmingly from Trump — made it painful to watch,” she said.

Rivera criticized President Trump’s responses as lacking substance.

“Trump’s weakness is that he never really articulated anything resembling an agenda for his second term. When asked about this plan for containing the coronavirus pandemic or his healthcare plan, he did not offer an answer,” she said.

The Ticker reached out to the Baruch Republican Club and the Pre-Law Society for comment, but received no responses.