On Tuesday night, the first presidential debate left deep dissatisfaction in millions of voters who saw a chaotic discussion marked by continuous disruptions.
First US Presidential Debate Kicks Off in Cleveland
All this was reflected in the comments on social networks, the headlines of the press, and reactions of journalists at the end of a 90-minutes event that took place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
"With Cross Talk, Lies and Mockery, Trump Tramples Decorum in Debate With Biden," was one headline used by The New York Times to summarize what happened.
"The President interrupted and bullied. Biden called the president a 'clown.' Chris Wallace, the moderator, despaired," the Politico concluded forcefully.
Journalist George Stephanopoulos referred to the event as "the worst presidential debate I have ever seen" while CNN host Jake Tapper said it was not even a debate but "a disgrace."
“An unedifying debate that did nothing but reinforce the deep sense of divide within America. There were no winners particularly the public who deserved to see leadership not a rabble predicated on bullying and frankly downright rudeness,” gender activist Jeanine Henry tweeted.
‘This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen’, Trump says
The Republican candidate once again accused the Democrats of preparing an alleged electoral fraud and encouraged his followers to remain vigilant during the elections.
"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. I am urging my people - I hope it's going to be a fair election. If it's a fair election."
Trump did not want to commit to waiting for the result of the elections without declaring himself the winner, and he again launched his threats in case the popular vote is not in his favor.
"If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that."
Trump avoids condemning promoters of racial violence
The Republican candidate avoided condemning white supremacists and argued that liberals have generated more violence than far-right militants.
When asked by the moderator if he would condemn white supremacists and ask them not to intervene in racial protests, Trump replied: "I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing."
Addressing the moderator who requested more specific definitions, the U.S. president said, "Who would you like me to condemn?... Proud Boys, stand back and stand by... Somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the Left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing."
This was how the Republican candidate referred to the "Proud Boys", a far-right group that has become famous for its hate speech against women and foreigners. They describe themselves as an association supporting Trump in his attempts to "restore law and order".
The Republican leader continues to minimize the pandemic
Ratifying his contempt for the epidemiologists' recommendations, the U.S. president criticized candidate Biden for wearing a mask to protect himself from COVID-19.
“I don’t wear masks like him - every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from - he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen. "
Biden recalled that Trump "has been totally irresponsible" for encouraging people not to wear masks or respect the social distancing measures.
"Masks make a big difference... if everybody wore masks in social distance between now and January, we'd probably save up to 100,000 lives,” the Democratic candidate stressed.
"Do you believe for a moment what he is telling you, in light of all the lies he has told you related to COVID-19?" Biden added, referring to the U.S. president's promise of the prompt availability of a COVID-19 vaccine.
To avoid ruling on his management of the pandemic, however, Trump then continued to deepen his attacks against the Democratic candidate.
As of Wednesday morning, the United States is the country hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 7,188,000 confirmed cases and 205,966 deaths.