By Tobili Hatcher
When I originally sat down to write about the first Presidential Debate, which took place on September 29 in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, I had completely different ideas about how I wanted to write about the worst presidential debate in living history. However, news has just broken that as of Friday October 1, The President and First Lady of the United States were both confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after top White House aide, Hope Hicks.
“I don’t think I’ve EVER seen such a huge fucking BITCH SLAP of karma in my life. Incredible” -@Brranday on Twitter
Not to say that this was to be expected nor that this is what he deserves for how he handled the pandemic, but let us be honest here. It was bound to have happened at some point and the time is now. If you aren’t personally tweeting about how the news of the President of the United States has personally affected you or laughing at the thousands of memes that are being made at his expense, you’re at least thinking about it.
Just 32 days before the most important election in U.S. history, the sitting president has now contracted the very same virus that he has spent seven months downplaying to the American people. Not even just downplaying, but who spent the early, most critical months of the pandemic that the U.S. could have used for taking bigger and better preventative measures, completely ignoring the task and insisting that the virus will go away on its own.
This irony is not lost on me or the American people.
To now watch what is playing out before my very eyes is almost surreal. Mere days after making fun of former Vice President Joe Biden during the presidential debate for taking the coronavirus seriously, wearing a mask, and following proper social distancing guidelines, the President himself has now contracted the virus.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m happy Trump has now contracted a virus that has killed over 208,000 (at time of writing) Americans alone, however, I will not and cannot hide the feeling of vindication that I felt when my brother called me from the West Coast at quarter past one in the morning to share the breaking news.
I also cannot lie and say that I feel bad for the man who has and still causes my country immeasurable pain, violates human rights and refuses to denounce white supremacy. To do so would be me partaking in the fake news media, and I, nor the Mouthy Magazine team, contribute to fake news media.
Oddly enough, the more I think about Trump contracting the coronavirus just one calendar month shy from the next election and towards the end of his exhaustive and disease spreading campaign trail, the more on-brand this seems to be for him and his campaign.
The words and actions that the President displayed at the first presidential debate were proof.
In more or less words, the first official showdown between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was in fact, a complete shit show. I believe Chief Washington Correspondent for CNN, Jake Tapper, said it best when he went on air moments after to say it was “a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck”.
It’s as if Tapper took the words right out of my mouth.
Watching two 70-plus year old white men argue and talk over each other, while poor Chris Wallace was just trying to do his job as moderator and simultaneously reminding the world that Kindergarten teachers are severely underpaid. It was truly a sore sight for the eyes and one that I honestly don’t think I could have gotten through sober. To be completely honest, I couldn’t even properly follow the drinking game I had planned because Trump literally could not keep his mouth shut. If I were to have taken a shot every time he interrupted, I would have needed to be treated at the site of the debate itself.
(Mum, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry you had to find out about me drinking to get through the debate like this. However, we both watched that debate and you know it just had to be done).
Usually in a debate, there are winners and there are losers. In this case, I truly believe that we are all losers. Not a single person came out of that debate a winner, unless you count the fact that Trump won at being the biggest loser of them all.
For almost 100 minutes, Trump could not seem to contain himself nor play by the rules that were set forth by the debate commissioner. Not for one single question could he stay on topic, focused and answer the question being asked of him. In true Trumpian fashion, instead of speaking on facts or feebly trying to make a humane connection with the American people – or even addressing the American people directly – Trump did the only thing he knows how to do well. Shout, speak out of turn and lie.
While it’s easy to label the entire debacle a low-light, there are still specific parts of the debate that are seared into my brain days after it took place.
What are some of the highlights, if you can even call them that, of the event one may ask?
For starters, Biden called the President a clown, and justly asked him to “just shut up, man”. I like to believe that during those two sound bites, the former VP was speaking for the people when he said that.
It turned from comedic and slightly tense when Trump took to talking at the podium. When asked directly about how much he paid in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017, the President continued to lie about how much he paid (hint: it was $750/year and you’ve probably paid more). He was so disrespectful to both Chris Wallace and Biden, that Wallace offered to swap places with Trump due to his disorderly conduct. Then came the cheap shots the President took at Biden’s family - calling out Biden’s only living child, Hunter Biden, in a nasty attempt to smear the Biden family name.
However, it was when the President was asked by both Wallace and Biden to denounce white supremacy that left us all with our mouth agape. Instead of affixing his dry and chapped lips to say the words “I denounce white supremacy”, he instead told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” It’s not a very huge secret that Trump is in essence, a white supremacist, but what a way to really showcase it on the presidential debate floor.
Trump was all over the place, lying up and down 9501 Euclid Avenue with a complete lack of grace but with absolute ease, because that is what Trump does best. Lie. At this point, I’m convinced that Trump would get sick if he were to tell the truth, because I’m almost certain that he doesn’t know the truth anymore.
At the end of the day, it’s important to note one vital point. The President tested positive for a “hoax”. After calling the coronavirus everything from the incredibly racist “Chinese-virus” and “Kung Flur”, to it being “a hoax” or something as mild as the seasonal flu to it “all being political hype.” As shit finally hits the ceiling, Trump has the coronavirus, and there’s nothing that he can do about it.
While I will not sit here and wish death upon the President, even with as much pain and anguish he has personally caused me and those around me, I will also not sit here and write that I wish him well. Nor will I be extending any positive thoughts and prayers towards him during this time. Honestly, the only thought I’m sending towards the President is that he uses this time to truly think and reflect back on who he is and what he’s done.
Because frankly, if Trump doesn’t feel the seething wrath of the coronavirus as it courses through his pre-existing health conditioned body at the ripe age of 74 years old, he’ll surely feel something when he has to face his truth and look at himself in the mirror.
That truth is this hoax might be the last thing standing between him and living out the rest of his years as America’s worst and most failed president.