The First Presidential Debate of the General Election

The Story:

President Donald Trump (R) debated former Vice-President Joseph Biden at the Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday evening. The event was moderated by Chris Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday.


President Trump clearly wanted this debate to be about “law enforcement.” He claimed that the former Vice President was friendly with violent left-wing organizations and, accordingly, was hostile to local law enforcement. Trump claimed that Biden had agreed to a “manifesto” to that effect with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Vice President said that he was in favor of “law, and order, and justice.” He also said that there exists no such “manifesto.”

Biden got through the debate without the sort of “senior moment” that would have added ammo to “sleepy Joe” charges from the Trump camp.

The Thing to Know:

At least at one point, and on the issue of law enforcement, President Trump seemed badly to slip up. Pressed to denounce white supremacy, the Presidency first demanded that a violent white supremacist group be named. Given the name of the Proud Boys, he said that they should “stand back and stand by.” He may have been trying to say “stand down,” but the idioms he used mean nearly the opposite.

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