A “circus,” a “dumpster fire” and “chaos” are all words that have been used to describe the first U.S. presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
“That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen,” CNN host Jake Tapper said seconds after the event ended. “In fact, it wasn’t even a debate, it was a disgrace.” Tapper later added, “The American people lost tonight, because that was horrific.
The night was off to a very disorderly starts with frequent interruptions, identified by moderator Chris Wallace as largely coming from the U.S. president, making it next to impossible to follow the discussion on topics like health care, climate change, race, voting and the Supreme Court.
As expected, many people took to social media during and after the debate to express their opinions on various parts of Tuesday night’s event.
One of the strongest criticisms of Trump came as the U.S. president refused to condemn white supremacists, when asked by Wallace.
“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,” Trump said. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”
“Proud Boys. Stand back and stand by.”
Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris called the U.S. president’s comments “a dog whistle through a bullhorn.”
Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy tonight and instead told white supremacists to "stand by"— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) September 30, 2020
He told them to stand by.
He wants violence in the streets.
He wants a civil war after November 3.
Oh Look, The Proud Boys see Trump validating them. That's how White Supremacists see Trump: as their guy. https://t.co/qfARoV9DKf— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) September 30, 2020
Trump also mocked Biden for how frequently he wears a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every time you see him, he's got a mask,” Trump said. “He could be speaking 200 feet away from it and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.”
Is @realDonaldTrump really shaming @JoeBiden for wearing a mask when out in public? He is really shaming him for being a responsible citizen and demonstrating real leadership?— #BlackLivesMatter ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼 (@muzzeltov) September 30, 2020
What a CLOWN! 🙄🙄🙄#Debates2020
Another point that got people particularly fired up was when the debate pivoted to a discussion about Biden’s sons, Hunter and Beau.
“What did he [Hunter] do with Burisma?” Trump said, alluding to Hunter’s business dealing with the Ukrainian energy company.
“Why is it...the mayor of Moscow's wife gave your son $3.5 million?” a question the U.S. president went on to pose to Biden after an investigation by Senate Republicans reported the claim.
Why is Biden allowed to repeat that the facts about Hunter--as put out by a Senate Committee, with data from Treasury Department--are discredited? Every newspaper has noted the money Hunter took, from Ukraine to China. It's all true; even Hunter admitted it. #Debates2020— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) September 30, 2020
Biden brought up a report from the The Atlantic that claimed that Trump called fallen military members “losers” and “suckers.”
“My son was in Iraq, he spent a year there....He was not a loser. He was a patriot, and the people left behind there were heroes,” Biden said, speaking about his late son Beau who died in 2015 after suffering a brain tumour.
“I don't know Beau, I know Hunter,” Trump said in response.
Biden went on to acknowledge that Hunter has had his issues with substance abuse but said “I'm proud of him, I'm proud of my son.”
Donald Trump bringing up Hunter as Joe Biden discussed Beau Biden's service to this country is about as low as it gets. #Debates2020— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 30, 2020
As a veteran I am disgusted about Trump attacking Hunter Biden for his battle with addiction. People who fight addiction are not irredeemable, to suggest otherwise when his own brother succumbed to addiction shows that this man has no empathy. #Debates2020— Naveed Jamali (@NaveedAJamali) September 30, 2020
Canadians speak out
Following the lengthy debate Canadians, in particular, took to social media to comment on the event from the perspective of a neighbour of the U.S.
I don’t know the story behind Joe’s son, but as a Canadian looking from the outside in, the dude looking right at the camera admitting his son had a drug problem resonates with me much more than the guy taking cheap shots at his opponent’s kids— Mr Booth (@MrBooth_7) September 30, 2020
This is so embarrassing
As a Canadian with free healthcare...I just don't understand why Americans don't want the people of their country to be well taken care of regarding health. Healthy people make for a healthy country in all aspects...just my thought!!!— Pamela A. (@PamelaApostolo1) September 22, 2020