Regardless of party lines, the response after the first presidential debate had many Americans feeling like they witnessed a schoolyard brawl rather than an esteemed platform for discourse — but such is life in 2020. Whether it was the constant stream of insults flying back and forth, the shouting over each other making it impossible to hear any answers, or moderator Chris Wallace joining in the fray with his own inability to stay calm and keep control of the chaos, the debate offered little in terms of valuable policy information for undecided voters. Republican strategist, Micheal Steel summed the night up best, telling The New York Times, “I’ve seen better-organized food fights at summer camp.”
One glaring takeaway from the night was President Trump’s inability to publicly denounce white supremacy, while claiming he’s done more for Black Americans than any other president with the exception of Lincoln (via Rev). When pressed by both moderator Chris Wallace and Joe Biden to simply state publicly that he does not condone the actions of militia hate groups like The Proud Boys, President Trump instead seemed to pander to his extremist supporters stating “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” (via The Hill). What shockingly seemed like a rally cry from Trump was not lost on viewers, or vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris who displayed shock and anger (via MSNBC).
Kamala Harris believes Donald Trump has debased the role of the President of the United States
In a country struggling with political division and fighting for social reform, President Trump seemed to many, including Kamala Harris, to prey on the heightened emotions of voters(via Los Angeles Times). And instead of using his platform for unity, he seems to be exploiting the divide in an attempt to somehow aggravate the issues to benefit his campaign. In an interview immediately following the debate, Harris told MSNBC’s Brian Williams that Americans have a choice to make, stating, “On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who has experience, who has poise, who has grace, who speaks with intelligence, who speaks directly in the camera to the American people about their situation, and then on the other hand you have an angry, defensive Donald Trump, who spent full time interrupting, attempting to bully the process, including the moderator.”
What may worry Americans more than Trump’s inflammatory style, which after four years, most people have come to expect, is how his most fervent supporters respond to it. The Proud Boys have taken Trump’s words as a call to action, publicly announcing they’re ready and “standing by, sir” (via NBC).
Kamala Harris isn’t letting his racial remarks slide, however. With the decorum and poise of an accomplished woman who is nominated for Vice President of the United States, Harris told MSNBC, “Donald Trump is not pretending to be anything other than what he is, someone who will not condemn white supremacists, someone who cannot say the phrase Black lives matter, someone who is getting rid of training of federal employees around the issue of race and the need to be aware of implicit bias.”
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