Analysis: The president’s words and actions were those of a candidate who knows he’s losing — and has no idea how to reverse the trend.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump may be the only person in America who is afraid of Joe Biden.
During the action, Trump absurdly accused Biden of wanting to abolish the suburbs, “the cows” and the cops; declined to denounce white supremacists; and insisted that the election is going to be rigged against him.
And after Trump aggressively failed to demonstrate presidential temperament — blustering, bullying and lying his way through the debate — his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, praised him for being in “control of the conversation.”
Trump’s words and actions were those of a candidate who knows he is losing and has no idea how to fix the problem.
The irony is that Biden was deeply vulnerable: after decades of experience at the highest levels, he’s still not a strong debater. He was noticeably apprehensive; he lacked the motivation and speed to brawl on stage; and he still didn’t have good answers for a host of questions about his record and platform.
But Trump couldn’t or wouldn’t stay focused on Biden’s actual positions. Instead, he ran against a dark caricature of the former vice president while the real version was standing right there smiling.
Trump accused Biden of “defunding the police,” a slogan used by some liberal Democrats as a shorthand for focusing less money on enforcement.
“What I support are the police having the opportunity to deal with the problems they face and I’m totally opposed to defunding the police offices,” Biden said. “As a matter of fact, police, local police, the only one defunding in his budget calls for a $400 million cut in local law enforcement assistance.”
Similarly, he said, Biden wants to get rid of cows.
“He’s talking about the ‘Green New Deal,'” Trump said. “They want to take out cows, too.” One quickly scrapped fact sheet on a nonbinding Green New Deal resolution — which Biden does not support — noted that it would be difficult to “fully get rid of farting cows.” The resolution, as introduced in the House, does not mention cows at all.
“It’s a rigged election,” Trump alleged after being asked whether he was sure the vote would be fair. He also called on the Proud Boys, a violent misogynistic right-wing hate group whose members have participated in white supremacist activities, to “stand back and stand by,” and insisted that the polls needed to be watched by his supporters. One of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., has encouraged backers to form “an army” for “election security.”
“When the votes are counted and they’re all counted, that will be accepted,” Biden replied to the same question. “If I win, that will be accepted. If I lose, that’ll be accepted.”
If Trump truly thinks Biden is a puppet of ideologues and his advisers, he should have bought an earpiece for Biden so that those forces could communicate their messages directly to him.
Left to his own natural devices, Biden repeatedly looked into the camera — at the home audience — and tried to demonstrate compassion for voters while hitting Trump over his personal tax payments and his response to the pandemic.