5 Takeaways from the First Trump-Biden Presidential Debate

5 Takeaways from the First Trump-Biden Presidential Debate (Photo: Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

South Ogden, UtahWelcome to the circus, otherwise known as the presidential election season of the United States. 

Few would call what occurred on stage last night a respectable presidential debate — or if even a debate at all — between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Aside from the constant yelling of insults at one another, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was forced to stop mid-way to reiterate the rules regarding interruptions and allocated time slots. 

It was a night filled with personal jabs and attacks. From Biden calling Trump a "clown" and a "racist" to telling him to "shut up" and shush. Trump didn’t hold back either, insulting Biden’s son and saying, “there is nothing smart about you, Joe.” 


So, here are the key takeaways from arguably what many consider the most chaotic presidential debate in U.S. history.

Supreme Court Showdown

Perhaps not the most insightful tactic when convincing voters, Trump argued that once he won the election, it would have “consequences,” one being that he has the right to assign a third Supreme Court justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 

Biden said the American people would be neglected of their right to vote if a Supreme Court justice is appointed in the middle of the election cycle. Essentially, implying if Trump loses the election, he’ll have had the opportunity to fill the vacancy.

This was just the beginning of the nonstop-speaking-over-each-other clown act, where pretty much everything was incomprehensible jabber. 

Clash Over Pandemic Response

However, with over 200,000 American deaths from the coronavirus, Trump’s only comments revolved around his own opinions about the vaccine being possibly ready “by November first” and masks being “okay.” 

And while the pandemic has marked Biden’s campaign by adhering to small gatherings and limited meetings, Trump has continued his rallies (outside, as he was quick to point out), saying they’ve had “no problem, whatsoever.” Trump also commented that the “China plague” was the cause for shutting down the economy. 

Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy, Biden acknowledges systemic racism

For many, the biggest disappointment in Tuesday’s debate was Trump’s inability to denounce white supremacy and militia groups, only saying, “Proud boys stand back and stand by.” 

Trump called race sensitivity training a racist practice, teaching people to hate our country. If you couldn’t guess, this was around the time Biden called Trump a “racist” and refuted that these educational resources are an important piece in mending the country back together. 


Admitting there is a systemic injustice towards African Americans, Biden was careful also to add that he views most law enforcement as fine people, many who are not happy about the deaths of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. 

Climate change discussed, but briefly

Finally! An admission that greenhouse gases from humans contribute to climate change! Well, sort of. 

With wildfires raging in California, displacing thousands of people and burning hundreds of thousands of acres, Trump previously claimed he doesn’t know “if the science knows.”  Yet, at the first mention of climate change, Biden admitted he wanted to discuss the topic and his ideas to combat it. 

Painting a picture of crystal clear water and air, Trump claimed to have lowered carbon emissions without destroying businesses as well as a call to action to better “manage our forests.” 

Meanwhile, Biden stuck to his guns that incorporating green infrastructure to the country will pave the way to thousands of new, well-paying jobs, and rejoining the Paris Accord would benefit the world as a whole. 

At least no one denied the science of climate change, right? 

Biden encourages voting, Trump cast election doubt

Biden repeatedly looked at the camera and encouraged viewers to go out and vote, either by mail or in-person. Election integrity though, was a tough final segment to watch. 


Saying he overcame a coup and “crooked Hillary,” Trump told a story of ballots being tossed in the trash as a reason to opt against mail-in voting. However, Trump also urged his supporters to go to the polls and vote.

While the debate proved chaotic, there are more to come. Perhaps the vice presidential candidates will have a more civilized debate? Maybe that’s wishful thinking. Regardless, it’s time to get ready for the traveling circus that is the American political stage.

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