“Will you shut up, man”: App State College Democrats and Republicans respond to first presidential debate

In the much-anticipated first debate of the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden clashed in Cleveland, Ohio, setting a vicious tone with just over a month until Election Day. 

Both presidents of the App State College Democrats and Republicans watched the debate to see how their candidate would do. 

Dalton George, president of the App State College Democrats, said Biden is the “clear choice for a better America.”

“It’s disappointing to see the president unable to follow simple debate rules,” George said, referring to Trump’s several interruptions of the former vice president. “One person on the debate stage looked equipped for the position of president, and it was not Donald Trump.”

App State College Republicans president River Collins said he thinks both candidates did a decent job. 

“Biden was able to, for the most part, clearly communicate and not stumble as much as normal,” Collins said. “Trump did a great job on the offensive calling out Biden’s weaknesses and putting him in bad scenarios where he dodged questions, such as which law enforcement group supports Biden and he gave no answer.”

Collins also said he felt there was too much interrupting “from Trump especially” and talking over one another. 

The Debate

The hour-and-a-half debate featured many interruptions, many insults and very little discussion on actual policy. The debate was sponsored by the Commision on Presidential Debates 

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace moderated the debate which consisted of six 15-minute segments. Each segment began with a question from Wallace who gave each candidate 2 minutes to respond. After the initial responses from Trump and Biden, the remaining time was open for discussion. 

Topics included COVID-19, the Supreme Court, economy, race, climate and election integrity. PolitiFact fact checked claims made by both of the candidates.

The format led to interruptions from both candidates. The CPD released a statement Wednesday stating it was grateful for the professionalism and skill Wallace brought to the debates, but changes needed to happen. 

Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the organization wrote. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

At one point, Wallace had enough of Trump interrupting Biden. 

“I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” Wallace said to Trump. “I’m appealing to you, sir, to do that.” 

One of the more memorable moments from the debate came when Wallace asked Trump to condemn white supremacy. 

Here’s the what happened:

Wallace: “Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence or the number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha, and as we’ve seen in Portland?”

Trump: “I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right. … I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

Wallace: “Then do it, sir.”

Biden: “Do it, do it. Say it.”

Trump: “You want to call them. What do you want to call them? Give me a name.”

Biden: “Proud Boys.”

Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about ANTIFA and the left.”

The Proud Boys is a group that primarily has misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration ideologies, with some members spewing white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies, according to the Anti-Defamation League. 

The group has taken the president’s words to heart and are celebrating his call to “stand by and stand back.”

Members have even begun sharing the group’s logo with the president’s words on it.

Korbin Cummings, the director of diversity and inclusion for the App State Student Government Association, could not comment on a specific candidate or party since her role is non-partisan. 

“However, as a Black woman, I am personally against all forms of prejudice, violence, and discrimination,” Cummings said. “I do not support any group, action, or ideology that supports the hate or violence of marginalized people.”

Cummings also pointed to the SGA president and vice president’s platform in terms of the administration’s stand on equity, and also pointed to the SGA constitution on the organization’s stance against discrimination. 

Later, on his way to campaign in Minnesota, Trump said the Proud Boys “have to stand down and let law enforcement work” and that he did not know who “the Proud Boys are.”

Throughout the debate, both candidates insulted each other multiple times — nearly shouting at times as they tried to talk over each other. 

Biden asked Trump to “shut up,” called him a clown and said he is the “worst president America has ever had.”

Trump attacked both of Biden’s sons, members of the Democratic party and told Biden to not “ever use the word ‘smart’ with me” claiming Biden graduated last or almost last in his class. 

The next presidential debate is Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. The debate is a town hall format in whichSouth Floridians  will ask the candidates questions. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond. 

Vice presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will debate Oct. 7. 

“I think very little real information was covered during the debate and the substance of it was severely lacking,” Collins said. “I hope the next debate offers more discussion time, more important questions, time for rebuttal and less interruptions.”