Toxic Trump, Biden debate prompts savage spray

 

While Joe Biden's camp was praising their candidate's performance, Donald Trump took to Twitter to lash out at the trainwreck presidential debate.

Mr Trump took aim at Fox News host Chris Wallace, who was the moderator, claiming he had joined forces with Mr Biden and ganged up on him.

In a furious outburst on Twitter, Mr Trump said the debate was a case of "two on one", and again referring to Mr Biden as "Sleepy Joe".

Mr Biden responded with a savage tweet depicting Mr Trump as the crying face emoji.

 

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, said Mr Trump's debate behaviour demonstrated why she had recommended that Biden not debate him at all.

"You saw a political nervous breakdown, a meltdown," Ms Pelosi said on MSNBC.

She said Mr Trump "has never respected the dignity of his office and he demonstrated that last night".

 

MAIL SCANDAL

The US has been rocked by a mail ballot blunder on an epic scale that has brought President Trump's warnings of mail ballot fraud into sharp focus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his office reportedly pushed against a plan to send approximately 100,000 new absentee ballots after Brooklyn residents discovered that the ballots they received in the mail had the wrong name listed on the return envelopes.

The stunning news emerged as the Commission on Presidential Debates said the highly contentious first debate between President Trump and Joe Biden "made clear" that "additional structure" should be added to the format of the remaining debates in order to "ensure" a "more orderly discussion" of issues.

Mr Trump has said for months that mail ballots could lead to electoral fraud. He repeated his claims in the first debate and said mail ballot rorting could mean the outcome of the November 3 election won't be known for months.

Voters were concerned that if the signatures they provided on their ballot did not match the envelope, their vote in November's election would be invalid.

"The governor wants to take a different approach," state Board of Elections co-chair Doug Kellner told the New York Post.

Governor Cuomo's office commented that sending new ballots was unnecessary because the problem was with the envelopes, not the ballots.

"We don't control the board of elections but our recommendation was that sending corrected envelopes will ensure that any person that got an erroneous envelope can still vote," senior Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi told the Post. "There is nothing wrong with the actual ballots and sending 100,000 duplicate ballots seems to be an overcorrection."

One state official claimed that only sending new envelopes would result in "massive disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Brooklynites".

Nearly 100,000 Brooklyn voters received ballots bearing someone else's name and address on the accompanying return envelope, while residents of both Brooklyn and Queens received ballots incorrectly marked as military ballots, the New York City Board of Elections said Tuesday.

Voters will be automatically sent new ballots and a replacement package that includes an explanation of the error.

"There's just mass confusion about these ballots and what people are supposed to do with them," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told the New York Post in reference to the military ballots.

One state official reportedly said that only sending new envelopes would result in "massive disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Brooklynites".

Fox News reported that State Senator Zellnor Myrie agreed, calling it "straight up disenfranchisement and an affront to our democracy."

According to the Post's report, Mr Cuomo was reportedly concerned that sending new ballots would give President Trump an opportunity to claim that voters were submitting multiple ballots.

Fred Umane, secretary of the state Board of Elections, told the Post that this concern did come up when they were deciding how to handle the situation, but that the small risk of voter fraud did not outweigh the benefit of sending new ballots.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Presidential Debates said the dysfunctional first debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden meant format changes had to be made for the remaining debates.

The commission's comments came after the first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, included repeated interruptions and both candidates hurling charges and insults at each other.

"The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate," the CPD said. "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues."

The commission added that it will be "carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly".

"The commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night's debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates," the commission said of the Fox News anchor, who moderated the debate.

The CPD is sponsoring two more debates for Trump and Biden, one on October 15 in Miami and one on October 22 in Nashville, with a presidential debate is set for October 7 in Salt Lake City.

WHO WON THE DEBATE?

It's been described as the worst presidential debate in modern US history.

Amid the chaos, US President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden addressed some key questions.

From the economy to COVID-19, here's who came out on top in the major issues.

THE US SUPREME COURT

The recent death of liberal icon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Republican efforts to quickly replace her with federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to give conservatives a six-to-three majority in America's highest court was the first topic of the debate.

Democrats are fighting hard against any nomination before the November 3 poll, arguing that the elected president should decide the balance of the court that will potentially shape American life for generations.

US President Donald Trump was a ‘bully’ in the first debate, a leading body language and vocal expert says. Picture: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump was a ‘bully’ in the first debate, a leading body language and vocal expert says. Picture: Getty Images

Mr Trump: "We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate. We have the White House. And we have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all."

Mr Biden refused to confirm Democrat plans to stack the court with increased judges should Judge Barrett be confirmed: "Whatever position I take on that, that'll become the issue."

WINNER: TRUMP

COVID-19

Mr Trump has in recent days sought to re-establish his record on the coronavirus by celebrating the distribution of 150 million rapid testing kits that will allow every teacher in the country to be diagnosed whenever they want to be.

He has also repeatedly tried to shift the blame for the chaotic US response to Democrat-led states and to lay the crisis at the door of China.

Mr Biden said the numbers told the story: 200,000 dead, seven million infections, 20 per cent of the world's deaths in the richest country, which accounts for just five per cent of the global population.

"When he was presented with that number, he said 'it is what it is'," said Mr Biden.

"The President has no plan."

WINNER: BIDEN

THE ECONOMY

If the election had been held in January, Donald Trump would have had this one in the bag, with a soaring stockmarket, record employment and energy self-sufficiency for the US.

The pandemic has shaken this confidence but the question facing Americans is whether they want a businessman in Mr Trump or what Republicans label as the socialist-controlled Mr Biden to steer the post-Covid recovery.

Mr Trump said Democrats "think they're hurting us by keeping them (the states and cities) closed. They're hurting people … Our country is coming back incredibly well, setting records as it does it - we don't need somebody to come in and say, 'Let's shut it down.'

WINNER: TRUMP

ELECTION INTEGRITY

Mr Biden warned that Mr Trump would seek to overturn any loss on Election Day and said that America had become "weaker, sicker … and more divided" under his administration.

When moderator Chris Wallace pointed out that it was likely an election result may not be known for weeks after polling day, Mr Trump would not commit a peaceful transition of power.

"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what's going to have to happen," he said.

Mr Biden said: "Once all the ballots are counted, that'll be the end of it."

WINNER: BIDEN

US President Donald Trump has tried to shift the blame for the chaotic US response to the coronavirus to Democrat-led states.
US President Donald Trump has tried to shift the blame for the chaotic US response to the coronavirus to Democrat-led states.

RACE AND VIOLENCE IN US CITIES

Joe Biden's low point in the debate came when he admitted he had done little to quell the violence wracking several Democrat-run cities.

With law and order firming as a key election issue, Mr Biden said that because he was not yet an elected official he hadn't phoned any Democrat leaders to urge them to call in the National Guard to stop rioters.

"I don't hold public office now," Biden said, defending his lack of action in Portland where riots have torn the city apart for more than 100 days.

Mr Trump said the problems were centred mainly in Democrat run cities and accused Mr Biden of trying to reduce policing.

"He doesn't want to say law and order because he can't, because he'll lose his radical left supporters and once he does that it's over with," Mr Trump said.

"If he ever got to run this country and they ran it the way he wants to run it, our suburbs would be gone."

WINNER: TRUMP

TRUMP AND BIDEN'S RECORDS

Having spent his entire career in Washington, as a longtime senator and then as Barack Obama's vice president, Joe Biden has a lot of ground to cover here but his focus when asked was on Mr Trump's perceived failures.

Mr Trump talked up the positives of his first four years, including recent peace accords involving Israel, his muscular trade tactics with China and Mexico, new trade deals and the previously booming economy.

WINNER: EVEN

'INTENSE BULLY': WHAT YOU MISSED

A leading body language and vocal expert delivered a scathing verdict on the performance of the two men in the debate, which was moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

Mr Trump was a "bully" and Mr Biden was "weak" during the debate, which was overall "embarrassing", according to Dr Louise Mahler.

Dr Mahler said Mr Trump positioned himself as an "intense bully" from the beginning of the event, and often tried to trip up a "vocally weak" Mr Biden.

"It was a clear tactic from Trump, to let Biden speak in part and then interject, which saw Biden time and again pause, close his eyes and then engage with Trump directly, deflecting away from his message," Dr Mahler told News Corp Australia exclusively.

She said Mr Trump showed himself to be the "strongest bully" by using techniques such as interruption and personal abuse.

The US President at one point took aim at Mr Biden's son Hunter and his late son Beau, a military veteran who died from brain cancer in 2015.

Dr Mahler said there was also evidence he disrespected Mr Biden, focusing his attention on moderator Chris Wallace rather than his opponent.

"He kept mostly upright with hands on the lectern when listening and when he spoke his body turned for 90 per cent of the time towards Wallace, gesturing towards Biden, which is a movement of disrespect towards Biden," she said.

She said Mr Biden was "clearly not a strong debater" and relied heavily on memory techniques to avoid lapses.

"Biden's number technique was to have points one, two and three. At one stage Trump called out 'you forgot number two', mocking him," she said.

She said Mr Biden's "weak thinking" let him down, and he would have performed better had he continued to make his points when Mr Trump interjected rather than growing frustrated and "joining in the name calling and insults".

"It was a missed opportunity for Biden, who instead of looking strong and presidential, looked weak and unappealing," she said.

Dr Mahler said neither Mr Trump nor Mr Biden came out on top in the first debate.

"The winner of the debate, given the nasty, petty and juvenile behaviour of the two men who want to run the free world was the moderator Chris Wallace, who in many ways played the kindergarten teacher trying to stop two children arguing in the playground."

During the presidential debate, Mr Trump and Mr Biden traded insults in a heated exchange.

As Mr Trump prodded his opponent to name his potential Supreme Court picks, Mr Biden lost his cool.

"Will you shut up man?" Mr Biden said. "This is so unpresidential."

To which Mr Trump said: "The people understand, Joe. In 47 years, you've done nothing. They understand."

Moderator Chris Wallace struggled often for control of the debate as the two spoke continually over the top of him.

"You're debating him, not me," Wallace said to Mr Trump at one point, as the president interrupted him.

Trump eventually said: "I guess I'm debating you, not him, but that's OK, no surprise".

Social media was overrun with criticism of how the debate played out and many suggested that candidates have their microphones cut short if the cross-talk continued in the next two debates.

Mr Biden warned that Mr Trump would seek to overturn any loss on Election Day and said that America had become "weaker, sicker … and more divided" under his administration.

When Wallace pointed out that it was likely an election result may not be known for weeks after polling day, Mr Trump would not commit a peaceful transition of power.

Donald Trump said Joe Biden had ‘done nothing’ in his political career. Picture: Getty Images
Donald Trump said Joe Biden had ‘done nothing’ in his political career. Picture: Getty Images

"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what's going to have to happen," he said.

Mr Trump said Republicans poll watchers would need access to any contested ballots because: "They cheat".

When Wallace asked: "Will you urge your supporters to stay calm while the vote is counted and will you pledge not to claim victory?", Mr Biden said "Yes".

"Once all the ballots are counted, that'll be the end of it."

Addressing the violence and social unrest that has rocked in American since the death of black man George Floyd in May, with each man blaming the other for the disorder.

"This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division," Mr Biden said.

"This is not the 1950s. All these dog whistles on racism don't work anymore.

"The point is that that is why he keeps trying to rile everything up. He doesn't want to calm things down. Instead of going in and talking to people and saying let's get everybody together and figure out how to deal with this, what's he do?

"He just pours gasoline in the fire constantly, every single solitary time."

But Mr Trump said the problems were centred mainly in Democrat run cities and accused Mr Biden of trying to reduce policing.

"He doesn't want to say law and order because he can't, because he'll lose his radical left supporters and once he does that it's over with," Mr Trump said.

"If he ever got to run this country and they ran it the way he wants to run it, our suburbs would be gone."

'IT WAS CHINA'S FAULT'

Mr Biden blasted the President's record on handling the coronavirus, saying he needed to get "out of the golf bunker" to focus on the issue.

"He waited and waited, he still doesn't have a plan," Mr Biden said, during the political rivals' first presidential debate.

"Two hundred thousand dead," he said. "We, in fact, have 5 per cent or four per cent of the world's population, and 20 per cent of the deaths. 40,000 people a day are contracting COVID. In addition to that, about between 750 and 1,000 people a day are dying.

"When he was presented with that number, he said 'it is what it is'.

"Well, it is what it is because you are who you are. That's why it is."

Mr Trump insisted the US was "weeks away from a vaccine" and again blamed China for the virus.

"It was China's fault. When you talk about numbers, you don't know how many people died in China," he said.

"You don't know how many people died in Russia. You don't know how many people died in India. They don't exactly give you a straight count, just so you."

Reminded of how many people had died, Mr Trump said: "You would have lost far more people."

Mr Trump said any delay to rolling out a potential coronavirus vaccine was due to politics and insisted that his government and military was ready to distribute one by November if it passed trials.

Mr Biden responded: "This is the same man who told you by Easter this would be gone away. By the warm weather it would be gone. It's miraculous, like a miracle. Maybe you could inject some bleach in your arm."

Mr Trump responded that this infamous comment had been "sarcastic".

Pressed on whether or not Americans could "trust" a vaccine pushed by Mr Trump, Mr Biden said he only put his faith in scientists.

"Do you believe for a moment what he's telling you in light of all the lies he's told you about the whole issue relating to COVID?" Mr Biden said.

This sparked an insult from Mr Trump, who reminded his opponent how he had recently misnamed the college he attended.

"Did you use the word 'smart,'" he sneered.

"You graduated either the lowest or the next lowest in your class, don't ever use the word 'smart' with me."

Mr Biden accused Mr Trump of profiteering off the pandemic and slammed him for recent disclosures about how little tax he had paid.

"The difference is millionaires and billionaires like him in the middle of the COVID crisis have done very well," Mr Biden said.

"Billionaires have made another $300 billion because. he only focused on the market. "

The question of Mr Trump's tax returns sparked another heated back and forth, as the president claimed he paid "millions of dollars" in personal taxes in 2016 and 2017.

A recent expose said he had paid only US $750 each year.

"You're the worst President America has ever had," Mr Biden said.

"He says he's smart because he can take advantage of the tax code, and he does take advantage of the tax code.

"That's why I'm going to eliminate the Trump tax cuts."

The discussion then moved on to the stark differences in how the two men have campaigned due to the pandemic.

Mr Trump defended his crowded rallies, saying: "So far we've had no problem whatsoever. It's outside that's the big difference according to the experts".

"We do them outside. We have tremendous crowds as you see. and Joe does the circles and has three people (in) some place."

But Mr Biden, who has restrained his appearances to adhere to social distancing guidelines, slammed the large Trump gatherings.

"He has been totally irresponsible in the way in which he has handled the social distancing and people wearing masks," Mr Biden said.

"Basically encouraging them not to. He's a fool on this."

At the halfway point, Mr Biden had exceeded the somewhat low expectations many had for his performance and the president was still struggling to land a significant blow.

This changed as Mr Trump made several personal attacks against Mr Biden's family, repeatedly questioning how his son Hunter Biden had made so much money in business dealings with foreign countries while he was Vice President to Barack Obama.

The first question was about Mr Trump's plans to push through the nomination of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to replace liberal icon Ruth Bider Ginsburg.

Mr Trump said he was entitled to make the appointment, "I will tell you very simply, we won the election," Mr Trump said.

"Elections have consequences. We have the Senate. We have the White House. And we have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all."

Mr Biden said although Judge Barrett "seemed like a very fine person", he was concerned she would work against abortion rights and also vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which is currently before the court.

"It's just not appropriate to do this before this election," Mr Biden said.

"If he wins the election, and the Senate is Democrat or Republican, then he goes forward. If not, we should wait until February."

It wasn't long before Mr Trump repeated his assertion that Mr Biden was under the sway of his party's left wing and wanted to introduce free healthcare.

"Your party wants to go socialist medicine," said Mr Trump.

Mr Biden responded: "The party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic Party".

As they went back and forth on health care, the pair was interrupted several times by Mr Wallace, who had to remind them he was the moderator as they spoke over the top of each other.

At one point, a frustrated Mr Biden said: "Donald, would you just be quiet for a minute."

"Everything he's saying so far is simply a lie. I'm not here to call out his lies," Mr Biden said. "Everybody knows he's a liar."

Mr Biden slammed Mr Trump for not yet having announced his health care plan.

"He's been promising a health care plan since he got elected," he said. He has none, like almost everything else he talks about. He does not have a plan. He doesn't have a plan. And the fact is this man doesn't know what he's talking about."

At the end of the first, messy 15 minutes of debate, Mr Biden sarcastically said: "That was a productive segment, wasn't it? Keep yapping, man."

The second debate will be in Miami on October 15 and the third on October 22.

Republican Vice President Mike Pence and will take part in one debate with Democrat candidate Kamala Harris next week in Salt Lake City, Utah.



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