SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Bruce Mallard has been teaching political science for decades and has watched every presidential debate beginning in 1960.
He was sure there would be fireworks Tuesday night at the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden but says what happened on the television screen was hard to watch.
“There’s never been one like last night it was just totally out of control,” said Mallard. “I think people expected something like this, but it was worse than I expected.”
The debate, while scheduled to be substantive in terms of topics, was raucous and filled with name-calling and interruptions.
“Somebody said last night that Trump was sort of a heckler at somebody else’s debate,” Mallard told News 3.
“When Biden tried to talk he was shouted down,” said Mallard.
“Trump tried to insert some of his accomplishments, but you just didn’t come away with a lot of information,” he continued. “So I think it was a disappointment to everybody and there probably are young people out there who have never seen a presidential debate before and who had high hopes.”
News 3 heard from both campaigns about the debate.
Last night, Joe Biden reminded us what true leadership looks like, by speaking directly to the American people about the 200,000 preventable deaths that took place under President Trump’s watch, including the nearly 7,000 Georgians who have died due to this President’s repeated attempts to downplay this deadly virus.
The President’s unwillingness to denounce white supremacy was also a direct slap in the face to voters of color in Savannah, the state of Georgia, and across the entire nation.
In short, Trump’s debate performance was an abject failure, much like the rest of his presidency.Jeremy Edwards, Georgia press secretary for Biden for President
President Trump was a dominant force last night. For months, Joe Biden has been hiding from the tough questions and last night, President Trump held him accountable for decades of failed policies. President Trump displayed command of the facts for the entire 90 minutes.
In 35 days, the American people are going to re-elect President Trump to a second term along with Republicans up and down the ballot.Savannah Viar, Georgia press secretary for Trump Victory
News 3 told Mallard about the Trump campaign’s message that the president had been a dominant force. He replied that it seemed more like Trump had “hijacked the debate to prevent Biden from speaking.”
Mallard believes the president would have been better served using his allotted time to bring home his own message about what his administration has been doing.
He also said he hopes there are more debates with changes in the rules.
“I think if they continue they ought to have a kill switch on the microphone and for two minutes while the other person’s talking you can’t be heard,” said Mallard.
The presidential debate commission has since said it will adopt changes to its format.
Mallard also commented about Trump’s answer when asked to condemn white supremacists.
“His statement to the Proud Boys about ‘stand by’ is troubling to me,” said Mallard.
Proud Boys is a self-described group for men on the far right, which has been linked to some violence at recent protests.
Mallard says while campaigns may be declaring victory for their candidate, his concern is whether the voter won anything by watching the debate.
“I think there probably are some undecided people out there, they’re probably looking for some indication of who they should vote for and they didn’t get it last night, I don’t think,” said Mallard. “So that extent, everybody lost.”