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On September 29, over 73 million people tuned in to the first of the three 2020 presidential debates. Chris Wallace moderated the debate, in which President Trump squared off against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. During the debate, President Trump repeatedly spoke over Biden and avoided directly answering Wallace’s questions, and both candidates repeatedly insulted each other. Here are details on how some viewers felt about the presidential debate.
What are pundits saying about Biden’s debate performance?
Instead of focusing on Biden’s talking points, wins, and downfalls, multiple pundits have called for the cancellation of the next two debates due to President Trump’s reactions to Biden’s firm statements and rebuttals.
Joe Scarborough, a former Republican politician who went independent and then became the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, tweeted on Wednesday that Biden shouldn’t go to the next two debates because he’d be wasting his time. Scarborough also said that Trump interrupted Biden too many times. David Axelrod, who served as a senior adviser to Barack Obama while Biden was his vice president, likewise said that Biden should consider not attending the two future debates.
Brit Hume, a senior political analyst at conservative media outlet Fox News, said that Biden “came across as competent” during the debate. A few other pundits disagreed, including Jesse Watters, the co-host of Fox News show. In Watters’ eyes, Trump won the debate.
What are pundits saying about Trump’s debate performance?
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who helped prepare President Trump for the debate, said Trump’s performance was erratic and “too hot.” Conservative pro-Trump panelist Rick Santorum could not defend President Trump repeatedly interrupting Biden and ignoring Wallace’s attempts to calm the debate. On the other hand, pro-Trump Fox News commentator Dan Bongino believes Trump’s debate strategy was “brilliant.” Bongino likened the president to the Lion King and a shark.
Like the many people who frowned upon Trump’s debate performance, Santorum was disappointed that President Trump did not completely disavow white supremacy during Tuesday’s debate (though a few Fox News hosts defended Trump). Santorum described Trump’s “stand back and stand by” comment as a mistake, but many people disagreed. Fox and Friends’ pro-Trump host Brian Kilmeade said that Trump “blew the biggest layup in the history” by not condemning white supremacists.
What are everyday people saying?
Americans were disappointed with the president’s performance, and debate viewers were confident in their verdict of the candidates’ performances: Only about one-third said Trump’s performance was “somewhat good” or “very good,” and 50 percent said it was “very poor.” More people positively received Biden’s performance. Approximately 60 percent of the viewers who were surveyed said they thought Biden performed well.
Biden maintains about a nine-point lead over President Trump after their first debate and has maintained this same nine-point advantage in six of the past seven national polls since early September.
When is the next debate?
The second debate between President Trump and Biden was initially scheduled to be on October 15 in Miami, Florida. However, this morning, President Trump tested positive for COVID-19, which raises uncertainty about whether the second presidential debate will occur on schedule. During the first debate, President Trump mocked Biden for regularly wearing face masks, which are proven to reduce COVID-19 transmission.