‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by’ Trump states during the debate

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

On Sept. 29, the first of three presidential debates occurred at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Throughout the debate, topics about a new Supreme Court Justice, COVID-19, the economy, climate change, election integrity and racial discrimination were discussed. However, a moment in the debate while discussing racial discrimination that has everyone talking, is President Trump’s remark, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” after a question about his willingness to condemn white supremacy and right-wing militia.

The Proud Boys are a right-winged neo-fascist organization, made up of only men, that promotes and engages in political violence, so it surprised no one when many American citizens were in uproar due to President Trump’s comment. That uproar only continued to grow when the Proud Boys began to celebrate President Trump’s remark.

In true fashion, the debate only continued to upset viewers at home watching as the night went on. During the debate about America’s current economic recession, Trump and Biden continued to go back and forth about whether or not the economy was better during Trump’s presidency or Obama’s. Trump’s argument being that the economy is in a “V-shaped recovery” from the recent recession due to COVID-19 while Biden says it’s more of a “K-shape” recovery. During the topic of the current economy, the question was brought up for Trump about his recent 2016 tax report, “Is it true that you paid $750 in federal income taxes each of those two years?” To which President Trump replied with amounts he has paid in the past for income tax returns, but not specifically federal income tax for the specified years. During this Biden urged Trump to “show us your tax returns” from the specified years.

A topic that caused overall confusion for many viewers was about climate change. During this segment Trump was asked, “The forest fires in the West are raging now… When state officials there blamed the fires on climate change. Mr. President, you said, ‘I don’t think the science knows.’ Over your four years, you have pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. You have rolled back a number of Obama Environmental records, what do you believe about the science of climate change and what will you do in the next four years to confront it?” Trump answered, “I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful clean air. We have now the lowest carbon… If you look at our numbers right now, we are doing phenomenally. But I haven’t destroyed our businesses. Our businesses aren’t put out of commission. If you look at the Paris Accord, it was a disaster from our standpoint. And people are actually very happy about what’s going on because our businesses are doing well. As far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management.”

When Trump was asked, “you believe that human pollution, gas, greenhouse gas emissions contributes to the global warming of this planet?” Trump replied, “I think a lot of things do, but I think to an extent, yes… but I also think we have to do better management of our forest. Every year I get the call. California’s burning… if you had forest management, good forest management, you wouldn’t be getting those calls. In Europe, they live in their forest cities. They’re called forest cities. They maintain their forest. They manage their forest… At some point you can’t every year have hundreds of thousands of acres of land just burned to the ground. That’s burning down because of a lack of management.” Experts have already come out to explain why better forest management isn’t going to fix the yearly problem on the West coast and why the forests in Europe can’t be fairly compared to the West coast.

When it was Biden’s two minutes to talk about his plan to combat climate change, Biden was constantly interrupted by Trump stating facts about the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is Bernie Sanders’ plan, not Biden’s, and by stating aspects of the Green New Deal, Trump is misleading viewers to believe that’s a part of Biden’s plan. It doesn’t help that due to the interruptions, no one got to hear much, if anything, about Biden’s plan.

At the beginning of the debate, the first topic was about whether or not a new Supreme Court Justice, taking the place of the late RBG, should happen before or after the election. Granted constitutionally it is completely in President Trump’s right to swear in a Supreme Court Justice prior to election day. However, with election day being approximately a month away, it would have to be a fast process. Swearing in a new Supreme Court Justice within a month isn’t impossible, but it would have to be a very fast process. In 2016 whilst President Obama was in office before President Trump was elected, Obama swore in a new Supreme Court Justice prior to the election. However, that was nine months before the 2016 presidential election, not a more challenging time span of less than two months.

Like all presidential debates, this debate was messing and filled with insults and talking over one another until no one knew what anyone was talking about. Besides the expected insults towards the other party’s nominee, there was also one continuous issue throughout the debate. For each segment a question is directed to one of the presidential nominees, which they respond to within two minutes uninterrupted. Both parties agree to abide by this and not interrupt their opponent’s two minutes. However, while Biden kept to his word and didn’t interrupt President Trump’s two minutes, the same cannot be said about Trump. The only time Trump didn’t interrupt during Biden’s two minutes to answer select questions was for the very first question of the 90-minute debate. 

After many directed insults, talking over one another and interruptions occurring throughout the first presidential debate, the organizers of the debate have stated the next presidential debate will be changed “to maintain order.” The second presidential debate is on Oct. 15 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. central time at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

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