Biden and Wallace Team Up Against Trump for Un-Presidential Debate
But Biden did what he needed to do: Go 90 minutes without zoning out.
Tonight, there was supposed to be a debate. Instead we were sullied with a gut-churning free-for-all. CNN called the night a more vulgar version of a “feces festival.” And for once, CNN had it right. Thank you, Chris Wallace
Moderator Wallace said before the debate he wanted to be invisible during the debate. He lied. Chris Wallace spent the 96 minutes working for Team Biden. From the opening gun, he would interrupt Trump, repeatedly he would stop Trump when Trump was scoring points. For long stretches, Wallace was the one debating Trump, not Biden. He lost total control of the debate. Most shamefully, he allowed Joe Biden to go unchallenged on a series of slurs and lies, and blocked Trump from responding.
Very literally, Donald Trump was fighting on that stage one against two. And to some degree, against his own pugilist nature.
Opponent One: Joe Did What He Needed to Do
So who won? It’s hard to say. It’s like deciding who won in a train wreck. However, if we compare what happened to what I wrote that each needed to do, Joe Biden gets the advantage. I said Joe Biden’s real opponent was Father Time. Could he physically go the 90 minutes without any horrific gaffes, mental lapses or other obvious signs of dementia? He did.
Joe remained energetic throughout the whole debate (thanks perhaps to the breaks Wallace would give him by engaging in debate with Trump.) There were no strange outbursts or talk of his “180 years” in the Senate. His train of thought generally stayed on track. Perhaps because Trump repeatedly interrupted him, so he didn’t get much opportunity to ramble his way into trouble.
Yet, If You Look Closely at What He Said
However, Joe said some things that may cause problems when people actually analyze what he said.
First, he declared Antifa is “an idea, not an organization.” Tell that to those who have suffered from Antifa violence. Ideas don’t show up at an appointed time and destroy property and attack innocent people. Ideas don’t get military style training. Ideas don’t have uniforms. It is a terror group out to tear down America, and Joe Biden has no problem with them.
Second, Biden basically told Bernie Bros and AOC his outreach to them was for show. First, he denied the existence of his policy pact with Bernie Sanders. He declared “My party is me! I am the Democratic Party!” (“Not according to Harris,” Trump replied.) Hear that, Bernie Bros? You got played. You going to spend the next five weeks helping Joe win?
Biden claimed “I do not support the Green New Deal. … It’s not my plan.” Yet, his own website says he does support it. His running mate Kamala Harris co-sponsored it. Do you think AOC is happy to hear Biden’s really not on board?
Third, Joe Biden refused to answer whether he supported ending the filibuster or packing the Supreme Court. That is a question of crucial importance to the future of the country and we voters don’t deserve an answer?
Fourth, Wallace challenged Biden once. Once. And his answer was pathetic. Biden was asked if he ever called the Democrat mayor of Portland or the governor of Oregon and told them to stop the days and months of violence. Biden said no because he’s currently not in office.
Joe had just got done saying “I am the Democratic party.” He’s the most recent Democratic Vice President. Yet he couldn’t call the Democratic mayor or the Democratic governor? Either Joe is incredibly weak or secretly happy with the violence.
Fifth, Biden might have ticked off some voters in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He vowed, “Nobody’s going to build another coal-fired plant in America. No one is going to build another oil-fired plant in America.”
Sixth, remember how Joe Biden is supposed to be the nice one? The night was filled with nasty Biden asides, “Will you shut up, man?” Calling Trump a “clown.” The “worst president America has ever had.” And a thoroughly awful slander: “He and his friends look their nose down on people, people of different faiths or colors.” Nothing Trump said came close to that level of nasty.
Most hypocritically, Biden told Trump to “get out of the bunker and off the golf course.” Bizarre from a man who has spent six months hiding in his basement.
Speaking of which: Yeah, Joe got through the 90 minutes. The question is, how much did it take out of him? Will he be on the campaign trail Wednesday? Let’s keep an eye on what kind of shape he’s in after the fight. The Presidency is not one day on, one day off.
Opponent Two: Chris Wallace Was Wretched
Chris Wallace’s obvious efforts to thwart Trump and prop up Biden weren’t the only ways Wallace put his fingers on the scale.
As The Stream‘s Jay Richards pointed out on Twitter, each of Wallace’s questions was framed in a Biden-friendly manner. For example, Trump recently ended the poisonous “critical race theory” training within the government. It is racist and destructive, as Trump pointed out.
However, Chris Wallace didn’t ask about “Critical Race Theory,” which is the basis for the training. He used the much more nice sounding “racial sensitivity training.”
When talking about voter fraud, Wallace did not distinguish between universal mail-in ballots and requested absentee ballots. Wallace blurring the lines for the election is reading the Democratic script. Not asking Joe Biden about the already emerging examples of trouble was yet another gift to Biden.
But Trump gave a gift to Biden too.
Trump Didn’t Give Joe Enough Rope
President Trump missed many opportunities and was denied many others.
My advice to Trump had been to give short answers, stick to his accomplishments versus Biden’s failures, keep the pressure firm. Give Joe the rope to hang himself.
However, Trump came out of the gate determined to rumble. And once he realized Chris Wallace was going to tag-team him, all bets were off. He was in a gutter fight. And with Biden throwing blatant lies at him, Trump wasn’t about to let it go unchallenged.
Yet, repeatedly, when Trump was in the process of scoring punches on Biden, Wallace stepped in. Like when Trump said, “Name one law enforcement support that supports you, Joe.” Joe did not have an answer. Trump prompted him to come up with one. And Wallace interjected, sparing Biden the embarrassment.
When Trump brought up Joe’s response to the Swine Flu, which his own chief-of-staff said was a disaster, Wallace did not push Biden for an answer.
Wallace again intervened when Trump starting hitting Joe on the $1.5 billion his son got from China when Biden was in charge of China policy, and the $3.5 million he got from a Russian woman close to Putin.
“Why did he deserve to get $3.5 million from Moscow?” Trump kept asking. Again Wallace threw a block and Biden didn’t have to answer fully. He could get away with simply calling the allegations lies and “debunked.” Fact check: The $3.5 million wire transfer was recorded by the Treasury Dept.
Taxes and Election
Trump did have an answer for the obvious question about taxes. Wallace tried to make it a yes or no. Did you pay $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017? Trump answered that he paid millions. Wallace insisted on the yes or no about the $750. He wanted Trump to confirm the $750 to score political points — even as he accepted the reality of Trump’s ability to use credits and depreciations.
As for the election, Trump stated the obvious. The election is shaping up to be a mess. Already ballots are being misprinted, military votes for him were tossed in a trash. And just today, his poll watchers were tossed out of Philadelphia area polling centers.
He didn’t even mention the ballot harvesting operation of Rep. Ilhan Omar. Trump rightly said he will not accept a fraudulent election. A fair election, yes.
Biden, of course, said “Yes,” he would accept the results of the election. (When factually, he was party to the effort to undermine the results of the 2016 election. Trump did manage to point that out.)
Repeating the Charlottesville Hoax
Joe Biden threw every made up meme about Trump at Trump and Wallace did nothing. Joe Biden repeated the demonstrable lie that Trump called white supremacists at Charlottesville “very fine people.” He lied about Trump wanting people to fight COVID by injecting bleach. He repeated the debunked story that Trump had called World War I casualties “losers” and “suckers.”
Ironically, when Trump countered that Biden had called military members “stupid bastards,” Biden lied, saying he never said that. Of course, it is on tape.
All told, it would have been nice had President Trump not started the night by interrupting, trying to throw Biden off balance. Had he not come in guns blazing. But clearly the Wallace strategy was to not challenge Biden and to confront Trump.
If it was going to be a mud fight, at least the moderator should have stayed clean.
Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream and co-author, with @JZmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl. And if you aren’t already, please follow The Stream at @Streamdotorg.