September 29 debate – Part II

The presidential debate was a mess, with excessive rudeness and interruptions. Wallace is trying to be neutral, but Trump felt he could overpower Wallace. Midway through the discussion, Wallace makes his frustrations clear to President Trump,

“I’m the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer your –” and before he’s finished, Trump interrupts.

See below the discussion on health care. Wallace’s question was preceded by three statements of fact: (1) The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Nov 10, 2020 on the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, (2) There is no comprehensive to replace it, contrary to Trump’s repeal and replace campaign promise and (3) You signed a largely symbolic executive order to protect people with pre-existing conditions five days before this debate (Direct quote from Wallace).

The question to Trump was mired in interruptions. Wallace asks, “So my question, sir, is what is the Trump health care plan?”

Here’s the discussion from the transcripts. Note, towards the end, I have included only comments from Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Mr. President, the Supreme Court will hear a case a week after the election in which the Trump administration, along with 18 state attorneys general are seeking to overturn —

TRUMP: That’s right.

WALLACE: — Obamacare, to end Obamacare. You had spent the last —

TRUMP: Because they want to give good health care —

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: If I may ask that question, sir.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

BIDEN: Good health care. (– Biden interrupts)

WALLACE: Over the last four years, you have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare but you have never in these four years come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan —

TRUMP: Of course, I have.

WALLACE: — to replace Obamacare.

TRUMP: Of course, I have.

WALLACE: Well, I’ll give you an —

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I got rid of the individual mandate.

WALLACE: — when I finish, I’m going to give you an opportunity —

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Excuse me. I got rid of the individual mandate which was a big chunk of Obama —

WALLACE: That is not a comprehensive plan.

— Trump wants to talk about Obamacare, Wallace is looking for Trump to talk about his plan, and he doesn’t want to do this.

TRUMP: That is absolutely a big thing. That was the worst part of Obamacare.

WALLACE: I didn’t ask —

— Trump interrupts Wallace, to redirect the discussion to Obamacare.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Chris, that was the worst part of Obama —

WALLACE: Sir, you’re debating him, not me. Let me ask my question —

— Trump interrupts Wallace

TRUMP: Well, I’ll ask Joe.

— Trump now wants to be moderator! Wallace response is simple.

WALLACE: No —

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: The individual mandate was the most unpopular aspect of Obamacare. I got rid of it. And we will protect people with preexisting condition.

— Trump interrupts Wallace

WALLACE: I’m the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer your —

— Trump interrupts Wallace.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Go ahead.

WALLACE: You, in the course of these four years have never come up with a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare and just this last Thursday, you signed a largely symbolic executive order to protect people with pre-existing conditions five days before this debate.

So my question, sir, is what is the Trump health care plan?

Trump talks about future plans to bring down cost of prescription drugs, and fails to discuss “pre-existing conditions.”

WALLACE: What about pre-existing conditions?

WALLACE: As I say, this is open discussion. Let me ask you about…

— Trump interrupts Wallace again.

WALLACE: Sir, you’ll be happy, I’m about to pick up on one of your points to ask the vice president, which is, he points out that you would like to add a public option to Obamacare, and the argument that he makes and other Republicans make is that that is going to end private insurance and will…

BIDEN: It is not. Sorry.

WALLACE: If I can ask you the question. It will end…

— Trump interrupts Wallace as he asks Biden a question. Trump is turning Wallace’s question as a statement of fact. Trump feels it is his turn to talk even as Wallace says this is a question for Biden to answer.

TRUMP: Not what your party says, by the way.

WALLACE: It will end private insurance and create a government takeover of health care.

BIDEN: It does not. It’s only for those people who are so poor they qualify for Medicaid, they can get that free in most states except governors who want to deny people who are poor Medicaid. Anyone who qualifies for Medicare — excuse me, Medicaid would automatically be enrolled in the public option.

The vast majority of the American people would still not be in that option. Number one. Number two…

— Trump interrupts Biden.

TRUMP: Joe, you agreed with Bernie Sanders’s far left on the manifesto, we call it.

— Trump now is asking the question, trying to redirect the question away, to an attack on Bernie Sanders.

===== From this point forward, I will only show Wallace’s comments.

WALLACE: Mr. President, can you let him finish, sir?

WALLACE: Please let him speak, Mr. President.

WALLACE: Mr. President… (Trump cuts him off)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, you realize that you are both speaking at the same time. Let the president — go ahead, sir.

WALLACE: I’ve got to… (Trump cuts him off)

WALLACE: I have to give you roughly equal time. Please let the vice president talk, sir.

======

So, there are a number of tactics going on. First, Trump knows oral arguments will be on November 10, so above all, he wants immediately to change the subject to what was so horrible about Obamacare. He interrupts Wallace’s question eleven times.

Trump is pushing his own accomplishments and ignores the fact that the Supreme Court case is being asked to rule that the entire law is unconstitutional because it no longer contains the individual mandate.

So, the tactics are to pre-emptively interrupt the moderator, and then answer a question more to one’s liking. Also, since the question was posed to Trump, he feels it is his time, and can interrupt Biden. A statement of fact from a moderator for Trump is a question in terms of a point of dispute.

Part III on the debate is in preparation.

Stay tuned,

Dave

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