In a debate that amounted to little more than an hour-and-half-long harangue from both sides, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden savaged each other in the most personal terms, with Trump questioning Biden’s intelligence and Biden calling Trump a “clown.”
In a typical exchange, Biden told Trump: “You’re the worst president America has ever had.” Trump responded: “I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years, Joe.”
On the whole Trump, who is well behind in the polls, was plainly more rattled during the entire night. He appeared to interrupt the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, as much as he did Biden, earning constant rebukes from Wallace.
Early reactions from pundits and polls suggested that the sometimes gaffe-prone Biden won the debate by merely standing up to the president and sounding coherent while a heavily sweating Trump seemed to unravel several times. An early CNN poll of debate watchers found that 60 percent thought Biden won, while only 28 percent believed Trump did, though the survey was skewed toward Democratic voters.
Foreign policy per se took up almost no time in the debate, and when it did Biden generally got in more zingers than Trump and with more aplomb, barely looking at the president as Trump cut into almost every answer. Regarding Trump’s largely unsuccessful attempt to correct trade deficits with China, Biden said: “He talks about the art of the deal. China has perfected the art of the steal.” He charged that the U.S. has suffered a higher trade deficit with China during Trump’s time in office, though that was only true in 2018.
In a final exchange, Biden committed to accepting the results of the election, while Trump did not, continuing to rant about largely unsubstantiated voting fraud charges even as