Presidential debate

Presidential Debate 2020: Reactions as Trump and Biden clash

A CBS News poll suggests 69% of viewers were left annoyed by the a bad-tempered affair between Trump and Biden where we learnt little about the issues.

Presidential Debate 2020: Reactions as Trump and Biden clash
Sarah Silbiger AFP

The first of the presidential debates of the 2020 election campaign took place in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday evening but despite the limited live audience tensions on stage were high. The debate was moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace who struggled to reign in a chaotic evening and was forced to reprimand President Trump for a series of outbursts.

Moderator calls Trump to order

At one point Wallace took a moment to call for calm: “the country would be better served if we allow both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m appealing to you to do that.” But the American people watching on to see who would win the debate were left disappointed by what they saw as the President continued to speak over both his opponent and the moderator.

A CBS news debate poll found that 69% of those asked found the debate annoying while only 17% felt that it left them more informed. When given a choice between the two, 83% characterised the debate as negative and 17% thought it was positive.

Commentators reactions to Trump vs Biden debate

What did the commentators think? Jake Tapper CNN: "That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen. It wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace. I can tell you one thing for sure tonight, the American people lost”

Dana Bash CNN: “That was a shit-show… That is the phrase that I’m getting from people on both side of the aisle on text and it’s the only phrase I can think of to really describe it”

George Stephanopoulos ABC: "I have to speak personally here...that was the worst presidential debate I have ever seen in my life."

Republican strategist Bryan Lanza: "It was hard to understand anyone's cohesive argument… It was like a college football game; the left cheers for the left, the right cheers for the right, and you watch the wreckage take place on the field."

Walter Shaub, former Director of US Office of Government Ethics: “History will record this as the night when the rest of the world asked if there even is an America any more.”