Throughout the debate moderator Chris Wallace had to constantly plead with Donald Trump to stop interrupting. If this seems familiar to you perhaps it’s because it’s part and parcel of the Trump administration’s playbook. We’ve seen it many times, over and over, where a Trump spokesperson (think Kellyanne Conway as a canonical example) interrupts, talks over the questioner and spews familiar diatribes about various whataboutisms such as Antifa, Barisma and how magnificent Trump is.
At one point Joe Biden had to say what we were all thinking, “Will you shut up, man?” When it came to the topic of white supremacy and climate change, the Vice President finally got his wish.
When Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy, Trump pivoted, squirmed and tried to avoid the question. He knows which side his bread is buttered on, as the saying goes. At length Trump said, “Sure, I’m willing to do that, but almost everything I see is from the Left.”
When the question was repeated and he was asked point blank if he would condemn white supremacy, Trump replied, with an Orwellian statement that is frankly chilling: “Stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, something has to be done about Antifa and the left.” Stand by? So white supremacists are supposed to stand by, are they? That doesn’t sound merely like a racist dog whistle, it sounds like an instruction from their Commander-in-Chief to the Proud Boys to stand by until they are needed to do battle against the false Republican bogeyman of Antifa.
Trump’s name-calling and bullying tactics were not a good look for him during the debate in the first place. Despite Trump’s decision not to use drugs going into the debate (there was none of the usual evidence of slurring of words, sniffing or disorientation) Trump still failed to do what he needed to do, which was draw a clear line between himself and racism. In that he has failed, and, as with everything Trump, the reason is clear and obvious. It’s because Trump is a racist, and so are his followers. He cannot unequivocally condemn white supremacy without losing many of his core supporters.
Trump failed on many other levels. For example, when asked about climate change Trump replied with the non sequitur, “I want crystal clean water and air.” While every sane American wants those things, they have nothing to do with climate change.
Trump’s feeble response to the now more than 210,000 Americans who died from COVID-19 was the same tired refrain we have heard for the last two months, that if he had not placed a limited travel ban on China that number would be in the millions.
While the debate was an unqualified failure for Trump, it could have been better. Biden could have been more forceful about Trump’s claim that the New York Times feature on his tax returns was a lie. Biden should have hammered home the point that if Trump wanted to he could release his taxes any time he wants, and Trump’s constant claim that he can’t because he’s under audit is a lie, and we know it’s a lie because the head of the IRS said so under oath. But the reason Trump won’t release his taxes is the same reason he won’t release his DNA to E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer, because he has something to hide. Specifically, Donald Trump is a tax cheat and a rapist.
Donald Trump must go, and we must vote him gone. Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on November 3rd. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.