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The Class Bully: How Trump revealed his true colors in the first debate

By Jack Castanoli


On Tuesday night, the first presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump enraged the nation — Trump’s constant interruptions, blatant lies, and overall negligence for the office of the President were on center stage.


The debate fired off with a discussion on the recent developments at the Supreme Court: the passing of liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the nomination of conservative idol Amy Coney Barrett. Biden warned the American people that if Judge Amy Coney Barrett gets onto the bench, the Affordable Care Act will be in danger.


Trump quickly got irritated with Biden’s response and accused Biden of becoming a socialist. Trump fired the first interruption, and that was when the decorum for the rest of the debate vanished. Here are some key takeaways from the first Presidential Debate.


Trump refuses to condemn White Supremacists


The President’s ineptitude when it comes to racism in the United States was on center stage Tuesday night. When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he was able to condemn white supremacists in the United States, Trump only offered a blatantly racist response.


“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing,” Trump said.


Trump’s almost immediate response wasn’t much of an answer and wasn’t fit to Wallace’s standards. Wallace fired back by reiterating the question, and Biden asked Trump to condemn the white supremacist group “Proud Boys” more specifically.


“Stand back and stand by,” Trump said.


A wave of responses from the white supremacist organization ensued on their main social media platform, Telegram.


"Standing down and standing by sir," the account wrote. “Trump basically said to go f--- them up! This makes me so happy.”


One social media account for the group made “Stand Back Stand By” part of its logo. The Trump campaign promptly attempted to diffuse the situation, but with little success.


Donald Trump Jr. attempted to resuscitate the campaign by stating that it was likely an error made by the President. Despite this, Trump downplayed the power of his words in the debate. Instead, President Trump continued to attack the electoral process on his Twitter feed.


Trump questions the integrity of the election


After blatantly telling white supremacists to “stand by” Trump also echoed the idea that polls need to be watched carefully.


"I'm encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully," Trump said. "If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that.”


Trump now questions not only the validity of voting by mail and absentee voting, but also the validity of actually voting in person.


This dubious claim has been proven time and time again to be completely false. The Trump Administration’s own voter fraud task force could not find significant evidence of voter fraud in United States elections.


The party of family values reveals it’s not so family friendly


During the entirety of the debate, Trump attempted to discredit Biden by labeling him as a nepotist for his son Hunter Biden on unfound claims. These accusations come despite Trump’s own track record of being a nepotist—Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. all have senior campaign or Administration roles.


Biden went on the offense defending his sons and attacking Trump for calling members of the military “suckers” and “losers” according to an article in The Atlantic. Biden brought up his son Beau who served in the military and died of glioblastoma.


Instead of taking a moment of reckoning and sympathizing with Biden, Trump continued his baseless attacks, saying he “[doesn’t] know Beau Biden.”


Trump only continued his relentless attacks on Biden’s sons — labelling Hunter Biden a drug addict and lambasting a baseless claim that he was dishonorably discharged from the military because of it. Biden seized this moment to defend his son Hunter.


"My son had a drug problem, but he's overcome it and I'm proud of him," Biden said.


The GOP — the so-called party of family values — has been radio silent in its rebuke of the President’s baseless and unfounded claims on Hunter Biden and Trump’s lack of empathy on Beau Biden.


The conglomeration of relentless attacks and interruptions during Biden’s speaking time by the President on Tuesday night reveal that this election is not Republican vs. Democrat; it’s a battle for the soul of this nation.



Jack Castanoli is a freshman from Elmhurst, Illinois majoring in political communication.