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Here is the deal, Donald Trump’s lack of empathy exhausted viewers as they watched him in his first presidential debate against former Vice President Joe Biden on Sept. 29, 2020.
Right out of the gate, the President set the tone for what to expect for the next 90 minutes. It was a contentious debate that one reporter said had more interruptions than information.
Trump Continuously Break the Rules
The President was overly aggressive and had to be reminded by the moderator, Chris Wallace. Wallace was to observe the terms his campaign agreed upon and allow Biden his two minutes to speak, uninterrupted. Basically, he told him to follow the rules.
Trump consistently, intentionally, and forcefully interjected his rhetoric from the podium regardless if he had the floor or not. He not only spoke over Biden, he repeatedly shouted over Wallace and uncontrollably inserted sotto voce remarks when others spoke.
His own debate advisor and ABC News Contributor, Chris Christe, said Trump was “too hot.” Matthew Dowd, ABC News Political Analyst, said Trump was “like a bull in a china shop that had been let loose.”
One of the things that stood out for American viewers was Trump’s lack of empathy and inability to portray sincere concern for the unprecedented social and economic hardships so many are facing. Some viewers described the President’s performance as arrogant, unhinged, and forceful.
The “look how perfect I am” approach and the “Emperor and His New Clothes” display of prideful and selfish antics left people drained.
Trump Lacks Empathy in Response to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has gravely affected 7.2 million Americans, according to statistics posted by the New York Times on Sept. 30. The number of people who have died as a result of this novice virus is now slightly over 200,000.
President Trump has been criticized for his botched response to COVID-19. The economy has suffered tremendously. Unemployment rates skyrocketed and many businesses unable to withstand the blow of the economy —sadly closed their doors for good.
In a matter of months, America went from a world that thrived on human interaction — to one that forbids it. Social distancing, wearing masks, excessive hand sanitizer, and disinfected sprays are now the new normal. A new normal that is hard to embrace but necessary and one that everyone is ready to go away.
During the debate, Trump did not respond to Biden’s comment about his recorded conversation of him admitting he downplayed COVID-19 in order to prevent the American people from panicking. Although, he did respond to the claim of more than 200,000 lives lost due to the virus under his leadership.
His response to Biden regarding the staggering death toll was:
If you were here, it wouldn’t be 200,000 people, it would be 2 million people.”
In regards to the unrelenting virus, Biden took the opportunity to stare down the barrel of the camera and ask Americans a sad yet sobering question:
How many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the kitchen table because someone died of COVID?
The non-discriminating coronavirus has claimed more lives than any other casualty in American history.
Trump Makes a Mockery of Drug Addiction While Biden Connects With Americans as Proud Father of a Recovering Addict
Trump attempted to bully and intimidate Biden by making condescending remarks about Biden’s son, Hunter, while Biden was giving his deceased son, Beau, accolades. Beau served in Iraq and lost his battle with brain cancer in 2015.
Trump said he did not know Beau, but knew his other son Hunter, who he falsely claimed was dishonorably discharged from the military for using cocaine. It was a petty low blow and an attempt to shame and demoralize Biden and his son for his past indiscretions.
Biden, like a loving, protective, and proud patriarch, addressed the issue head-on. He looked into the camera and spoke directly to the millions of Americans who have loved ones that have dealt with or are dealing with drug problems. He provided hope and encouragement by acknowledging his son’s past bout with drugs and praising him for overcoming his addiction.
The opioid crisis, which once dominated headlines, still exists though it has been overshadowed by another crisis, COVID-19. Doctors confirm that addiction rates increase during economic downturns.
In that moment of owning the truth about his son’s past addiction, Biden compelled Americans to view him as a relatable father. On the contrary, it made Trump appear cold, detached, and unempathetic.
‘Stand Back and Stand By’
Calling Trump’s call to action to white supremacists, specifically the Proud Boys, a dog whistle is an understatement. Trump blew a megaphone when he told the hate group to “Stand back and stand by.” His base heard him loud and clear.
The disturbing part is — everyone else heard him too. Trump’s command prompted The Proud Boys to make a social media post on Telegram:
Standing down and standing by sir.
Trump has failed to denounce white supremacy groups. In the 2017 North Carolina rally, involving white supremacists who claimed an innocent life, Trump said it was “very fine people on both sides.”
When asked in an Axios interview about the disproportionate number of Black people that are killed by police officers, he responded that police kill white people too.
The President’s tone-deaf remarks lack empathy and only perpetuate the social, economic, and racial divides this country has been plagued with for centuries.
Biden urged voters to go the polls and vote. He admitted he would concede the results of the election. Trump, on the other hand, cast doubt and claims of voter fraud — setting the stage for him to contest the results if they are unfavorable to him.
Trump has often been viewed as unempathetic in his response to sensitive matters. He cemented that image with his performance in the first presidential debate against former Vice President Biden.
Opinion News by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Sheena Roberson
Rolling Stone: The 5 Exchanges That Defined the Most Disgraceful Debate in Presidential History; Tessa Stuart, Ryan Bort, and Jamil Smith
The Washington Post: Power Up: Trump’s debate performance was described this way by undecided voters: ‘Crackhead,’ ‘arrogant,’ ‘un-American,’ ‘forceful’; Jacqueline Alemany
AP: AP FACT CHECK: False claims flood Trump-Biden debate; Calvin Woodward and Hope Yen
Stat: Trump’s debate highlights his hunger for a rushed, election-eve vaccine approval; Lev Facher
AZFamily: Opioid crisis intensifies during COVID-19; Monica Garcia
The Washington Post: The Health 202: Health care was first up in last night’s caustic presidential debate; Paige Winfield Cunningham
NBC News: Proud Boys celebrate after Trump’s debate callout; Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny
Axios: Trump deflects on why Black people are killed by police: “And so are white people”; Rashaan Ayesh
New York Times: Covid in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count
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