Leading up to last week’s presidential debate, many expected a contentious encounter. What unfolded was a debacle.
In a chaotic showing, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in a wild fracas. From the outset, Trump wasted little time turning the debate into a street fight for the presidency of the United States. Employing a combative style, Trump derailed the proceedings by continuously interrupting and attacking Biden. Only minutes into the program, Trump declared “there’s nothing smart about you, Joe. Forty-seven years you’ve done nothing.”
This pattern continued as Trump commanded the narrative and hijacked the stage. Despite his best efforts, moderator Chris Wallace was unable to control the president who espoused conspiracy theories and hurled personal insults.
For his part, Biden remained cool under fire although his frustration periodically surfaced. At one point Biden asked “will you shut up, man?” while later bemoaning that “it’s hard to get any word in with this clown.”
As Trump pressed forward with his attacks, Biden declared him to be “the worst president America has ever had.”
But for all their tense exchanges, a particular statement by Trump foreshadowed a startling turn of events. When discussing the important role masks have in combating the coronavirus, Trump mocked Biden’s adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
“I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” Trump said.
Two days later, Trump announced on his Twitter account that both he and his wife had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
He wrote,“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
The timing of Trump’s announcement raised questions about when he contracted the virus. Joe Concha, a contributing writer for The Hill, reported that “President Trump did not arrive in Cleveland ahead of the first presidential debate in time to get tested before the event took place.”
Some speculated Trump may have purposely delayed his arrival to avoid testing protocols; however, these claims have not been corroborated.
It is unclear if the next scheduled debates between Trump and Biden will take place. But those matters are trivial now. The president’s health must take precedence. After all, politics are negotiable. Human life is not.