President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden squared off at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday for their final debate ahead of the 2020 election, and the atmosphere was—shall we say—tense. After the pugnacity of the previous debate, moderator Kristen Welker was forced to remind the candidates, “The goal is for you to hear each other,” which…does not augur good things about our republic’s future.
The first topic of the night was, predictably, COVID-19, with Trump promising a vaccine and repeatedly stating “I’m immune” after his own hospitalization:
Biden’s use of the word “xenophobic” to describe Trump came as a welcome moment of frankness for those sick of hearing the sitting president refer to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and “China’s fault”:
The night quickly spawned a Trumpism for the ages:
Trump’s invocation of New York as a “ghost town” wasn’t particularly well-received by New Yorkers:
An interminable discussion of taxes culminated in Trump referring to Biden as “the big man”:
Biden just couldn’t help himself from using the word “malarkey”:
Welker’s moderation—stern when necessary, but in control of the debate nonetheless, arguably more so than either candidate—earned her plaudits:
Welker even managed to coin an instant-classic line of her own, responding “But you’re the president” when Trump characteristically began to blame Nancy Pelosi:
A well-timed question from Welker about family separation at the border provided ample opportunity for Trump to demonstrate that he has absolutely no plan for reuniting migrant children with their parents:
A question about racist policing in America came just after incendiary comments from Trump about some immigrants allegedly having “low IQ”:
Trump’s avowal that he is “the least racist person in this room” drew ire, as did the inherent racism of lumping the concerns of Black voters in with the criminal justice system:
Ultimately, the night was stressful and seemingly never-ending; in other words, it was a typical presidential debate featuring President Donald Trump. On the plus side, at least we won’t have to suffer through another one of these before the election.