It wasn’t hard to predict the mainstream media’s response to the Sept. 30 debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
It wasn’t difficult to predict what was going to happen during the debate, either.
After being lambasted, criticized, attacked and investigated constantly during his first term in office, Trump came into the debate like a bear that had been poked one too many times. He expected a stacked deck and dual-attack from both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, and that’s exactly what happened.
He also faced plenty of pushback, “gotcha” questions and, most alarming to me, instances where the moderator — Wallace — actually engaged in debate with Trump over the Affordable Care Act.
It was a move that went against any form of debate ethics, rules or even decency. Remember, days before the event Wallace said he hoped to remain as “invisible as possible” during the debate.
“If I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?’” Wallace said.
Well, I guess he didn’t do his job correctly because not many people are saying it was a great debate and everyone is keenly aware that Wallace was the moderator.
Wallace was far from invisible when he attempted to fact-check Trump regarding his success with the economy compared to Obama’s, or when he pushed Trump to condemn white supremacists but not Biden, who himself has a very sketchy history of racist comments (“racial jungle” and “you ain’t black”) and associations (Robert Byrd).
Nor did Wallace chide Biden when he told Trump to shut up and called him a “fool,” a “clown” and “the worst president ever.”
Yet it was Trump who was labeled the bully after the debate, and I will admit his behavior at times was a bit abrasive.
It was obvious that Trump came to the debate ready to fight, but his conduct was actually the result of having been bullied himself for the last three-plus years.
Consider the way Trump has been treated by media outlets such as CNN on a daily basis. The network has berated Trump on-air constantly and their reporters have badgered and baited him during press briefings. Just like a schoolyard punk who keeps shoving and shoving, CNN and other mainstream media outlets have bullied Trump relentlessly.
And his response to the attacks has been to shove back harder and be more aggressive. That was the approach the president carried into the debate.
So when the first interruption of the night was actually launched by Biden, Trump went on the offense and decided to fight fire with fire.
And he never stopped.
After Biden opened the door when he interrupted Trump in the early stages of the debate, all bets were off.
For better or worse, Trump was unleashed and, by the end of the night Biden was reduced to repeating his “here’s the deal” catchphrase and Wallace resorted to asking the president if he would “tell your people to take to the streets” if he felt the election wasn’t fair.
The president attacked, Biden went into his shell and Wallace became irrelevant.
Still, it was no surprise that Trump was resoundingly chastised by mainstream media pundits for his behavior during the debate. They said he was belligerent, toxic and, of course, a bully.
Bloomberg opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein wrote that Trump’s performance was “so deeply embarrassing to the nation.”
Brookings Institution fellow Andre M. Perry called the president’s debate performance “violent.”
And CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd opined that Trump’s conduct during the debate “made each and every one of us less safe.”
I felt less safe when Biden refused to answer if he supports packing the Supreme Court.
But for everyone who feels Trump was a bully during the debate, consider the definition of the word: one who is habitually cruel, insulting or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller or in some way vulnerable.
If Trump is a bully, what does that make Biden?
And if Biden is susceptible to being bullied – i.e. weak and vulnerable – how is he capable of leading our country?
And what about the world stage?
When it comes to dealing with the likes of Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un, I’d rather have the bully on my side.
And that’s no malarkey.
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