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President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden

Screenshot from Sept. 29, 2020 C-Span Presidential Debate video

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for the first time Tuesday night in the inaugural presidential debate of the 2020 general election.

It was a catastrophe. Trump was belligerent, mendacious, and overbearing, refusing to let Biden answer questions most of the time without interruption. Biden managed to get in several good moments, but he was often bowled over by the president's bluster and was unable to make a complete argument. [Editor's note: Biden nevertheless won CNN's "instant poll" following the debate audience by overwhelming margins.]


But Trump didn't really seem to get the better of Biden. By being so aggressive, he came off desperate, dishonest, and out of control. It was not a good look for a sitting president. And it completely undermined the supposed point of the debate: informing voters about the issues. Instead, it showcased the candidates' respective personalities, at least to some degree. While unpleasant, it may have been informative in its own way.

Here are five stunning moments from the event:

Trump Fights With Chris Wallace

This happened continuously throughout the night. And Wallace even pointed out that Trump was responsible for far more interruptions.

Biden Loses His Cool With Trump

"You Are The Worst President That America Has Ever Had"

It may have been an exaggeration — we've literally had slaveholding presidents — but the remark had strong rhetorical force.

Trump Attacks Biden's Son Hunter When He Mentioned Late Son Beau

"Urging My supporters To Go Into Polls"

Trump refused to direct his supporters to reject violence after the election. In fact, he gave them a directive that could very well lead to voter intimidation.

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