Presidential debate branded a ‘disgrace’ amid calls for next one to be cancelled

Graeme Massie
·3-min read

Watch: Chaos reigns at first presidential debate

The chaotic first presidential debate was panned by US observers as a “disgrace” amid calls for the remaining two to be cancelled.

Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted moderator Chris Wallace and was told to “Shut up, man” by rival Joe Biden during the live event.

But Mr Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris was quick to quash any suggestions the Democratic candidate would refuse to debate Mr Trump again.

“Joe Biden is never going to refuse to talk to the American people and have any opportunity he can to speak directly to American families and speak about the issues and speak the truth,” said Ms Harris.

And Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield echoed that.

First presidential debate branded a 'disgrace' amid calls for second one to be cancelled (EPA)
First presidential debate branded a 'disgrace' amid calls for second one to be cancelled (EPA)

“We don't know how many different ways we can say yes. We are going to the debates,” she said.

Political commentators were less convinced though.

“That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside of a train wreck,” CNN’s Jake Tapper told colleague Wolf Blitzer after it finished.

“That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace.

“And it’s primarily because of Mr Trump who spent the entire time interrupting, not abiding by the rules that he agreed to, lying, maliciously attacking the son of the vice president.

"When asked to condemn white supremacists, he brought up the name of a neo-fascist far-right group and said, ‘Stand back and stand by.”

Watch: Trump and Biden clash over white supremacists

“I can tell you one thing for sure, the American people lost tonight because that was horrific.”

Mr Blitzer agreed with Mr Tapper and said there had to be serious doubt if the next debate would take place on 15 October in Miami, Florida.

“It will certainly raise a lot of questions about the future of the presidential debates between these two candidates,” said the veteran TV host.

“I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last presidential debate between the president and the former vice president.”

Norah Jones of CBS also cast doubt on future debates.

“Can we really have two more of these debates, after what we saw tonight?” Said Ms Jones.

Over on NBC the hosts were equally exasperated with what they had seen.

“I’m at a bit of a loss for words here to describe what we just witnessed,” said NBC’s Lester Holt.

“You can’t pretend that this was a normal debate, a normal example of American democracy at work,’ said Savannah Guthrie.

Other observers took to Twitter to try and make light of the debate.

“My drink just asked for a drink,” said Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal.

And former Fox News host Megyn Kelly said the evening had only been good for one person.

“Big winner of the night? Kanye,” she Tweeted.

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