The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden showed a failure to agree on basic facts and the president’s penchant for rejecting expert advice, with Trump frequently contradicting his own officials and Biden suggesting that truth meets hostility in the Trump White House.
Confronted with moderator Chris Wallace about statements from CDC director Dr Robert Redfield and Moncef Slaoui, the pharmaceutical director appealed to the administration to lead the coronavirus vaccination effort, according to which a vaccine is unlikely to be not widely available until the summer of 2021, Trump replied, “It’s a very political thing.
“I don’t agree with the two,” Trump added, saying a vaccine would be “sooner” and once again espousing his belief that it would be ready to be shipped to a wide range of Americans. before the end of the year.
After Trump made numerous references to Antifa, an amorphous left-wing movement that Trump frequently presents, with little evidence, as the root cause of many civil unrest, Biden cited FBI Director Christopher Wray’s disagreement that Trump has appointed in 2017.
“His own FBI director said … Antifa is an idea, not an organization,” Biden noted, to which Trump replied, “Well, you know what, he’s wrong.”
Biden countered that administration officials who give Trump truthful but politically awkward advice are often treated as if they have “a bad idea,” a common criticism of Trump that has become particularly heated during the pandemic.
“He, I think, may have misunderstood a question,” Trump noted de Redfield after the latter testified in the Senate that a vaccine would likely not be available until 2021, adding “I think he may have gotten the message in a confused fashion.” Maybe it was incorrectly stated.
“I’m not going to put him in the crosshairs,” Biden said of Wray earlier this month, calling Trump a “very vindictive president” for suing Wray for telling “the exact truth” about Antifa. Biden, however, did not say whether he would keep Wray if elected, saying, “I’m not going to commit to putting or keeping anyone or getting rid of anyone.”
What to watch out for
One person Biden said he would continue is Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official. Trump has often had public disagreements with Fauci, who found himself ice from the White House sometimes because of his clashes with Trump. Biden has slammed the administration’s criticism of Fauci as a “disgusting attempt to pass the buck” and noted, if elected, he “would immediately contact Dr Fauci and ask him to continue his incredible service to our country”.