About The Debate The Other Night

When I think of Trump, I think of Geraldo Rivera. When I think of Joe Biden, I think of Dick Cavett.

3 min readOct 1, 2020


So the night before last, I had a bout of insomnia. I just couldn’t sleep. So I got up for my morning routine, starting at 1:30 am instead of my usual 4 or 5 am. I watched the debate from my laptop just to see what had happened. What I saw was the difference between a man who follows the rules and one who doesn’t.

Trump didn’t follow the rules at all. As Marc Caputo at Politico put it, Trump “torpedoed” the debates. Even Chris Wallace called Trump out for interrupting Joe Biden nearly every time Biden had his turn to talk. It even got to the point where Biden said, “Shut up, man!” to just stop with the incessant interruptions from Trump.

What I learned about Trump in the debate is that even when his campaign and Biden’s campaign worked out a set of rules for the debate, is that he thinks the rules don’t apply to him. He thinks that because he’s president, he can do whatever the hell he wants. Trump isn’t about “law and order”, and his debating style proves it. Trump is about getting away with whatever he can and scoring points with his base for every infraction.

Reflecting back on Trump’s behavior in the debates reminded me of every witness he denied for a committee hearing in Congress. Trump’s debating style reminded me of every subpoena that he’s fought. Trump's manners in debate remind me that he’s argumentative, combative, and antagonistic. But I know this is only an act. How do I know?

Not too long ago, a video of Trump in a deposition was released. Mother Jones got their hands on it and found some nuggets to show to us. And what I saw in that video was a man who was not the president, for the deposition was taken in 2015. I saw a man who was more or less polite in the company of lawyers because he knew that if he said the wrong thing, that might cost him money, money, and more money.

Therein, I saw Trump, the impetuous, inconvenienced teenager. I saw a man who was more polite than I had ever seen him in a debate. He was still antagonistic then, but the fear of losing corralled…