The Vice-President and the People snagged 12.2 million viewers on ABC and a 2.6 rating among adults 18-49 last night. Over on the NBC network, a pettish Trump was grilled by Savannah Guthrie’s sharp tongue and fact checks ready in front of voters in Miami as 10.3 million Americans tuned in.
Trump and Biden were both forced to answer tough questions as the President vied while trying to defend his response to the coronavirus pandemic, his embrace of conspiracy theories and his stance against questioning from NBC’s Guthrie.
Trump alternated between victim and aggressor as they went back and forth at rapid-fire speed. ” You’re the President of the United States, not someone’s drunk uncle” he said, “You always do this,” looking angry during a tense exchange when Guthrie questioned his equivocations about White supremacy. “You’ve done this to me and everybody. … Are you listening? I denounce White supremacy. What’s your next question?” he snapped. Trump was being fact-checked on the spot and didn’t like it.
At the same time, switching to Biden’s town hall, hosted by George Stephanopolis, might have felt like they’d entered a different world. Biden was calm and collected, although repeatedly pressed to clarify his position on whether he will support adding members to the Supreme Court, his work on the 1986 and 1994 crime bills and his positions on fracking and the Green New Deal.
He was also forced to explain his controversial comment that if Black Americans don’t support him “you ain’t Black.”
Biden delivered a lengthy answer which highlighted his work on education, criminal justice, his $70 billion plan for historically Black colleges and universities and his plans to try to create more fairness in the nation’s tax and economic systems to help Black families build more wealth. “If young Black women and men vote, you can determine the outcome of this election. Not a joke. You can do that,” Biden told his questioner.
While Biden’s answers were less defensive and more thoughtful, he faced his own difficult moments when he dodged or didn’t directly tackle the questions he was asked.
Trump loves any platform where he can have a stage to be ridiculous, condescending and be a reality star. That is exactly what he was given last night on NBC.
Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.