First Presidential debate proved lack of professionalism, maturity


Trump interrupts Biden during his two minutes on the impact that the coronavirus has and the lives taken from the lack of action taken by the Trump administration. Image taken from taken from C-SPAN

Prasaus Yeager ’22, Paper Opinions Editor

When I sat down to watch the Sept. 29 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, I got more than what I expected. And I mean much more. One could argue that there were some hits of the 90-minute debate, but I beg to differ. 

The only clarity I did gain was that the debate failed to show and tell the political goals of the two candidates and instead sent a number of red flags. But before diving into those, one must first examine the two candidates. 

Let’s start with Donald Trump. Now I don’t have to be the one to tell you that Trump will do or say almost anything to try to defend himself. So, when you put someone like him into a debate that is meant to reveal flaws in a campaign and, in many cases, exploit them, he will naturally come to his own defense. 

In general, defending oneself during a debate is not a bad thing if it is done in a meaningful way. Trump missed the mark entirely. Instead of seizing an opportunity to demonstrate his assets, he only made it more clear to the American people that he has no self control. Nothing he said was of any substance and, in my opinion, it amounted to a complete waste of time only to watch a child banter for the better part of 90 minutes. 

I was embarrassed watching the actions of our president and his lack of professionalism as someone who holds public office. He completely lacked respect for his opponent and made a complete fool of himself. ”

— Prasaus Yeager ’22

Biden, on the other hand, wasn’t as professional either, but this is understandable. First of all, he was visibly frustrated. His two minutes were repeatedly being interrupted by Trump, who just couldn’t seem to find some restraint. And while his frustration is defensible, the name calling cannot be. It’s certainly not easy to be in the presence of someone who has a total disregard for rules, and at the same time be able to maintain patience and dignity yourself. But compared to the president, Biden’s actions were minor in comparison. 

Now, let’s call attention to the focal points of the debate. When moderator Chris Wallace proposed the question of denouncing white supremacists, Trump called out the Proud Boys, a far-right white supremacist group, and said, “Proud boys, stand back and stand by.” This is no surprise, considering that Trump has, on more than one occasion, refused to condemn the actions of white supremacist groups. Most notably would have to be his response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when he famously said that they were “fine people.”

The most alarming part of Trump’s refusal to condemn these groups is mainly that it reveals how out of touch he is. Out of touch with people of color (POC), but in touch with the white supremacist community. 

It’s safe to say that he sent a message not only to POC, but also to his followers, that he would not rally behind groups of color in America. Not only did he stand with the Proud Boys, but he also dodged the question proposed and flipped it against antifa, which is a movement that opposes far-right groups and fascism. According to the New York Times, many antifa groups participate in peaceful protests, but there are a few who believe violence is justified in some cases. 

During the same question, Biden failed to condemn Trump for his racist behavior, and support groups who are peacefully protesting such behavior. Biden could have really expressed his viewpoint and refuted Trump’s accusations that he supported the riots when, in reality, he has been extremely clear on the fact that he will not condone destruction. However, Biden is not a very strong debater. There were multiple moments when he failed to deliver his points in a succinct and concise manner. It’s because of this that the majority of Americans, drawing only from the debate, were unsure of what his political stance was. 

The debate was a demonstration of the lack of maturity among our leaders and raises questions for the next debate – will it be more or less the same? We will have to wait and see.