Competing With Biden’s Town Hall Did Not Go Well for Donald Trump
The difference between having a normal one and A Normal One.
Tonight was supposed to be the night of the second debate of the 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but we were mercifully spared another one of those when Donald Trump refused to participate remotely amid uncertainty over his COVID-19 status. Instead, ABC decided to go ahead with the planned town hall style of the debate with Biden alone, and of course, Trump (aided by NBC) took the opportunity to turn it into a competition—one that is not going well for him.
Everyone’s pretty unhappy with NBC in the first place for forcing the public to choose which candidate to watch and giving Trump yet another high profile platform to spew lies, the same kind of media circus nonsense that enabled Trump’s rise in the first place. In the end, it might wind up backfiring on Trump, though, with his ranting and raving sounding even more unhinged without someone else he’s supposed to be debating against—just calm needling from moderator Savannah Guthrie.
He was in rare form, from once again attacking the effectiveness of masks in combating the COVID-19 pandemic to defending spreading one ridiculous conspiracy theory via retweet and outright promoting his favorite one, QAnon—the anti-child sex trafficking conspiracy theory that actively undermines its own stated purpose.
“People with masks are catching it all the time,” Trump says six months into the pandemic.
He continues to cede to the Democrats an overwhelmingly popular political position.
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) October 16, 2020
70%+ of the country believes in wearing masks and Trump just told a young woman that he’s still opposed.
This is unreal.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) October 16, 2020
On spreading the conspiracy that Obama had SEAL Team 6 killed.
TRUMP: “That was a retweet! People can decide for themselves!”
GUTHRIE: “You’re the president, you’re not someone’s crazy uncle.”
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) October 16, 2020
Here’s video of Trump refusing to denounce QAnon at the NBC town hall pic.twitter.com/BmSHGYSlxO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2020
Guthrie: “But there is not a satanic pedophile cult.”
Trump: “I have no idea.”
Guthrie: “You don’t know that?”
Trump: “No I don’t know that. And neither do you know that.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Biden gave substantive policy answers.
.@JoeBiden on criminal justice reform:
-Fund initiatives w/ social workers, disability advocates, mental health & substance abuse experts
-Ensure formerly incarcerated individuals have housing upon reentry and eliminate barriers https://t.co/TcyJ2VVPMj pic.twitter.com/DNLtZnLrNz
— Vote Save America (@votesaveamerica) October 16, 2020
.@JoeBiden‘s COVID-19 response plan includes:
-Enacting a universal mask mandate
-Funding faster development of treatments and vaccines
-Creating a national testing and tracing strategy
-Providing more Protective Personal Equipment
— Vote Save America (@votesaveamerica) October 16, 2020
He also demonstrated an ability to respond to criticism thoughtfully, and whether or not his response is good enough, it is worlds better than Trump’s complete inability to ever admit to being wrong about anything.
Biden Challenged on ‘You Ain’t Black’ Comment by Voter, Responds with Emotional Appeal to Earn His Votehttps://t.co/cvjsJP0sLj
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) October 16, 2020
This is huge. Never let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t criticize the nominee or front-runner. That’s how you get them to hear you and change toxic policies. https://t.co/wnnyJPga7Z
— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) October 16, 2020
The stark difference did not go unnoticed:
Biden discussing how to solve structural racial wealth inequities. Trump is defending QAnon.
— Person Woman Man Camera TV (@ClaraJeffery) October 16, 2020
Biden: “There’s a constitutional method to limit the appointment terms of Supreme Court justices short of court expansion”
Trump: “The pedophile cult loves me, masks cause butt cancer, all of your bones are made of sadness”
— too ghoul for school (@jesseltaylor) October 16, 2020
Of course, there are those out there who think Biden’s very normalcy is inherently a negative, including Trump’s own campaign, addicted to the idea that spectacle is all that matters.
This Biden town hall is making a strong case that his presidency will be a ratings disaster — a lot of somewhat longwinded, detailed answers to policy questions.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 16, 2020
— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) October 16, 2020
Imagine thinking Mr. Rogers is someone you don’t want to be compared to.
There were also bad faith comparisons of how the two candidates, who behaved in wildly different ways, were handled by their respective moderators.
If the president has to denounce a dangerous conspiracy that he’s amplified on social media why doesn’t Joe Biden have to pretend Russian disinfo is real to make everything even steven https://t.co/PsqPAVm6ou
— Josh Raby (@JoshRaby) October 16, 2020
Reporters should interrupt politicians when they lie, so this is good. https://t.co/pKgGNFnE4f
— Battle Brennan (@Brennanator) October 16, 2020
It should go without saying that handling two unequal things unequally is not bias.
However, the most memorable moment of the night may have come from Guthrie chastising Trump for sharing a conspiracy theory he claimed not to even necessarily believe, telling him he’s the president, not someone’s crazy uncle, and … well …
Actually . . . https://t.co/tdmNIjBP4j
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) October 16, 2020
We can only hope that voters who tuned in will react the same way, because we cannot allow this kind of thing to go on any longer:
Approx. 1 hr ago the current occupant of the Oval Office told a crowd of hundreds of people that he ordered the summary execution of an american citizen on american soil, w/o trial, & the crowd applauded and cheered him.
(Source in his own video & words https://t.co/N97Gue5t2W)
— Damien P. Williams, MA, MSc, Werewolf, Revenant (@Wolven) October 15, 2020
(Photos by Olivier DOULIERY and Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
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