Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was roundly criticised for failing to keep the discussion on track, with one CNN commentator comparing the spectacle to a “hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck”.
At its lowest point, the debate provided Mr Trump with an opportunity to denounce white supremacist violence – but the president called on Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” with less than five weeks until Election Day.
Trump insists he ‘won’ debate against Biden
Donald Trump ignored multiple polls on Wednesday as he declared victory in the first presidential debate, claiming former Vice President Joe Biden is eager to skip two additional scheduled debates despite what the Democratic nominee’s aides say.
“I hear he doesn’t want to go forward, but that’s up to him. I would like to,” the president told reporters as he left the White House to campaign and raise funds in Minnesota. “By every measure, we won the debate easily last night.
Washington bureau chief John T Bennett reports:
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 20:21
Trump: ‘I don’t know who the Proud Boys are’
After invoking the far-right hate group Proud Boys during the first presidential debate, Donald Trump told reporters outside the White House that he doesn’t know who they are.
Asked to condemn white nationalist violence in the US, the president hesitated, asking “you want to call them – what do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead, who would you like me to condemn?”
Joe Biden said: “White nationalists. Proud Boys.”
The president then told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem this is a left-wing problem.”
On Wendesday, he said: “I don’t know who the Proud Boys are.”
“I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” he said.
He continued to blame “antifa” for protest violence and urged Mr Biden to condemn the loose coalition of antifascists, but the president did not condemn white supremacist violence, which his own FBI has warned poses as great a danger than extremist terror groups.
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 20:05
Trump a ‘national embarrassment,’ Biden says
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that his opponent Donald Trump is a “national embarrassment” following a chaotic debate roundly criticised for the president’s interruptions and sparring with moderator Chris Wallace.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but the president of the United States conducted himself the way he did — I think it was just a national embarrassment,” Mr Biden said.
“I just hope that the American people and undecided voters try to determine what each of us has for an answer to their concerns,” he added.
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 19:00
After debate chaos, debates commission says ‘additional structure’ needed at future events
Following Donald Trump’s constant cross-talk and moderator Chris Wallace’s failure to keep interruptions at bay, the Commission on Presidential Debates will add “additional structure” to future debates.
“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the group said on Wednesday. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
The commission said it is “grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 18:52
Biden to Proud Boys: ‘Cease and desist’
Asked to respond to Donald Trump’s remarks to neo-fascist group the Proud Boys to “stand by and stand down” during his first debate with Joe Biden, the former vice president told the group to “ceast and desist.”
“My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist organization is: Cease and desist,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“ That’s not who we are,” he said. “This is not who we are as Americans.”
Here’s how the president responded to Chris Wallace asking whether he would condemn right-wing violence and white supremacist groups:
Members of the Proud Boys celebrated the mention on social media platforms, using the “stand by and stand down” message as a rallying cry, already imprinted on branding and T-shirts.
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 18:30
‘This is a colossal waste of time’: Pundits and Biden supporters call for him to drop out of remaining debates
Political pundits, alongside supporters of the Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden, have called for the former vice president to drop out of the remaining two debates, after he was interrupted multiple times by Republican nominee Donald Trump.
During Tuesday’s presidential debate, which is planned to be the first of three before 3 November’s election, Mr Trump repeatedly spoke over Mr Biden and avoided answering questions posed by moderator Chris Wallace.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a former Republican congressman, told the former vice president that he should refuse to take part in any more debates.
Mr Scarborough, who left the Republican party to became an Independent after Mr Trump became president, wrote: “This is a colossal waste of the American people’s time.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 17:47
AOC warns against Donald Trump’s white supremacism and ‘fascism at out door’
New York Congresswoman underscored her assessment of Donald Trump’s white supremacism following last night’s debate, when he was asked twice to condemn violent far-right groups and failed to do so by any convincing measure.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist,” she said. “This is fascism at our door.”
“People have been warning about this for a long time,” she said on Twitter. “They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical – not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn’t accept that our country elected a supremacist as President.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 17:24
‘I’ve interviewed Hillary Clinton. Biden is saying everything she wished she could’
The Independent’s Harriett Sinclair writes: “When I spoke with Hillary, long after I’d been to her 2016 rallies and followed her on the campaign trail, she made some salient points about what women are allowed to say and do in politics.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 17:11
Biden campaign celebrates record fundraising haul while mocking Trump’s ‘tired and angry’ debate performance
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has announced a record-breaking fundraising haul during the final hour of the debate between the former vice president and Donald Trump on Tuesday night, announcing it raised $3.8 million in just 60 minutes.
Kate Bedingfield, Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said the former vice president “demonstrated the leadership and temperament that Americans around the country are looking for” while Mr Trump appeared “desperate and weak and angry”.
Speaking on a press call with reporters following the first debate between the two nominees of the campaign season, Ms Bedingfield added: “There was one president on the debate stage tonight and it was not the person who flew in on Air Force One.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 16:34
Analysis: Rather than ideas, Trump and Biden serve American voters garbage during chaotic clash
There is nothing to be gained or learned if the president and former VP debate again before Election Day, writes Washington bureau chief John T Bennett:
“American voters were promised a debate between the two men seeking the highest office in the land. What they got was a national embarrassment that gave any remaining undecided voters little information to help them choose a candidate.”
Alex Woodward30 September 2020 16:26
Daily Coronavirus Briefing
No hype, just the advice and analysis you need
Send your news and stories to us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.