Frustrating and Unfair Debate: Trump vs. Wallace/Biden
RUSH: The only word I have for it is frustrating. So frustrating. We had a moderator last night who everybody knows that I like and everybody knows that I respect and a moderator that treats me fairly whenever I appear on his program, Chris Wallace. But he said before the debate last night that the best measure of his performance, of his job, would be if he ended up being invisible. Well, no. There was no way. He ended up being part of the debate staff. It was Trump versus two people last night.
And it was unfair. All this white supremacist stuff being dredged up, but there wasn’t one mention of Joe Biden out there saying, “If you ain’t voting for me, you ain’t black.” I get so sick and tired this white supremacist allegation that Trump has refuted, he didn’t do it, he didn’t say it, and yet they keep dredging it up.
Greetings, folks. Great to have you. Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network and the Limbaugh Institute.
I’m gonna do my best here to try to remain somewhat facile, cogent, and organized. But man, oh, man. So much about last night, it’s just so frustrating. Trump desperately wanted to debate last night. It was obvious and clear. I thought the first five minutes of this debate last night, I thought it was gonna end up being a grand-slam home run. Trump came ready. He was loaded. He knew what the strategy was. Now, you can disagree with the strategy. I think the strategy was to try to rattle Biden and to facilitate whatever they thought might happen with the mental deficiencies that the candidate has exhibited. The effort was to try to hasten that.
And the frustrating thing is that Biden was demonstrating that, and Trump interrupted him rather than let it happen a number of times. That is because Trump desperately wanted to debate. The moderator kept interrupting. The moderator and the questions. And just — get out of the way. You got a debate starting. You got a debate raging. Let them go at it.
This is not a question of is the moderator gonna be elected president or is the moderator’s job performance gonna matter a hill of beans in terms of the future of the country. Let the candidates engage. Let the audience decide who’s more in command of facts and more in command of the stage. Instead of this silly attempt to enforce a bunch of rules. Let the candidates enforce the rules. Let’s find out who can stand up for themselves and who can’t.
Trump, I don’t think, lost a single vote from his base last night. The question is whether any undecideds were moved. CNN has pointed out: hey, hey, don’t get excited out there since Trump lost every debate in 2016, they think. And they also point out that incumbent presidents never have first debates that are any good. Even though the Drive-Bys might think that Biden was a slam dunk winner just ’cause he lasted 90 minutes, they are not at all confident of that.
And now these demands on Biden that he not do the other two debates. Those are demands coming from the Drive-By Media ’cause they think he can only do damage. He showed that he can handle himself for 90 minutes and he could withstand whatever Trump threw at him. No need to do this anymore. Biden’s out there saying, “Can’t wait. I want to bring on those other two debates.” Bring ’em on. But there has to be some clarification of the rules.
It was rather obvious to me that Biden did not want to debate. He wanted to mumble a bunch of facts he wrote down and he wanted to make sure he articulated them before he forgot ’em. But Trump wanted a vigorous exchange. He was thwarted every time a debate nearly broke out. You know, part of a free flowing debate is to measure strength and tenacity, assertiveness. Those are all Trump strengths, as well as his record and his accomplishment.
But there was micromanagement of this debate going on, as though the questions mattered more than what the candidates were naturally evolving in and to as the debate unfolded. And excuse me, but it seemed like a number of times, it looked like somebody thought that Biden needed to be rescued. And so the life raft was thrown. But the audience last night was denied the ability to judge the candidates in a meaningful way because they were interrupted.
And I don’t know. It’s hard for me to relate because I put myself in the position all a moderator, and my ego would tell me I’m not the reason anybody’s here tonight as the moderator. I’m not the reason this is happening tonight. I’m not what people are tuning in to see. The people are not tuning in to see who stays closest to the rules. People are not tuning in tonight hoping the moderator does a great job enforcing the rules. That’s not why people watch these things. And they’re not gonna judge a debate like last night on the basis of who appeared to be more acquiescent to the moderator. That’s not what was at stake.
Now, I realize a lot of people think that Trump could have brought a different attitude and it would have been better, that he could have brought the Trump of the rallies, that he could have brought… Oh, I don’t think the word they don’t want to say but what they mean is “likability.” You gotta understand — and I think a lot of people do — this is ball game.
We’re going up for an election here whereas — as Trump made it abundantly clear last night — the future of the country and what kind of country we are going to have is what is up for grabs. That’s what’s at stake, not listening to a debate between the moderator and the president of the United States on climate change. We don’t want moderators who are control freaks.
If the candidates are control freaks, let’s see it. Let us judge. We don’t need the participants of a debate treated like this is Romper Room and they are violating some of the school rules and they’re gonna be punished by being sent to the corner. Trump wanted to debate. He desperately wanted to debate. Instead we got a scolding, “Tsk-tsk-tsk, you’re not listening to the questions,” moderated kind of debate, and it was just frustrating.
It was frustrating all the way around. I really thought, folks, after five minutes… I thought Trump was gonna blow Biden away. I thought Trump was calm, he was informed, he was tough. And then it turned into this circus as if Trump didn’t really think or wasn’t aware beforehand what he was up against. I don’t know. It looked to me like Trump wasn’t prepared for the kind of moderator that he got last night.
I mean, he adapted after a while, but it looked like he was… I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. It looked like he was a little taken aback. He seemed surprised that Biden would slander him. He seemed surprised that Biden would lie. I can’t believe he was surprised by it, but the way things changed after the first five minutes I just had to wonder — and I had some regrets too.
You know, Biden was in the process a number of times of melting down. He was in the process of forgetting what he was saying. He was in the process of losing his place in his mind, his train of thought, and Trump saved him. And the reason Trump saved him was Trump has got so frustrated over the lies that Biden was saying that he just couldn’t resist jumping in and correcting what Biden was saying, which stopped Biden’s meltdowns dead in their tracks.
The latest Hillary Clinton scandal — and it’s a doozy, and it’s something that we’ve known for I don’t know how long. Hillary Clinton was the behind all of this that was the Russian scandal. You know, I remember, ladies and gentlemen, I went back and looked, because I had a distinct memory of the way I dealt with this. I went back to my own program; I looked up a transcript of my own show, a transcript of me, April 22, 2019.
That day, the New York Times ran their story on how the dossier may not be true. April 22, 2019, the New York Times with a story reporting that the dossier may be Russian disinformation. They knew that even before Trump was inaugurated. The question I asked back then: Hillary Clinton spent $10 million on that dossier. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC spend $10 million on that dossier.
That dossier was a pack of lies. Everybody knew it was a pack of lies, and do you know the one thing that didn’t happen? Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not act upset that they got ripped off. Here they supposedly go out and they hire a guy, Christopher Steele, and they pay him $10 million to come up with this dossier of data on Trump that they can use as opposition research.
It turns out to be not only Russian disinformation. It’s double-down Russian information. We now know that the primary sub-source — meaning the guy that fed the data to Steele — was a Russian agent working for the Brookings Institution in Washington, living in suburban Washington and Virginia. The guy was a Russian agent, a spy. He was KGB.
Hillary Clinton not one time acted like she got ripped off. She didn’t and neither did the DNC. Why wasn’t she mad? She could have even acted mad. To carry out this hoax, to continue this BS that the dossier was true, the dossier was — or that they thought it was — she could have at least acted like she was upset that she had just wasted $10 million.
She spent $10 million; she got a pack of lies. Why wasn’t she angry? Why wasn’t the DNC angry over the fact that that $10 million investment ended up not being worth anything? They couldn’t use it. She paid for fake October Surprises, fake news. Well, the fact that she didn’t get mad, the fact that she did not act ripped off is further evidence that she knew exactly what it was. It was designed to be a pack of lies.
Anyway, that doesn’t come up. None of that comes up. No! You know what comes up? Charlottesville and a bunch of lies. We’re gonna go through the debate at that point. I’ve got a transcript here of this exchange between Debater Number 1 (the moderator), Debater Number 2 (the president), and Debater Number 3 (Biden) over this whole mess that somehow Trump is a white supremacist and to this day has not denounced it, which he has over and over and over again.
And it was dredged up by the moderator. But what was not dredged up? What Biden told my old Buddy Charlamagne tha God, “Hey! Hey! If you ain’t voting for me, you ain’t black.” That didn’t come up, and then we had to listen to the moderator lecturing Trump on butting in. We had to listen to the moderator lecturing Trump on interrupting. But Biden didn’t get lectured for interrupting.
Biden wasn’t lectured for calling Trump names. That’s the one thing that Trump did not do. Trump did not engage any personal attacks last night, unless you want to say that it was a personal attack to say, “Joe you and the word ‘smart’ don’t go together in the same sentence.” But Biden was the one with mean-spirited personal attacks. They weren’t called out.
The moderator never said that there was a violation of rules going on there. So now the thinking is that Team Biden will say, “We don’t need to do any more debates. America cannot endure another circus like last night, and so we are bowing out.” The problem is that Biden has already said he can’t wait for the next two. Of course, that might have been planned anyway, should it have gone the way it did. Now, I know a lot of people…
For example, I know a lot of Millennial women are made nervous by behavior such as that last night, by both sides. They’re made nervous by confidence, made nervous by assuredness — and I’m sure that many people last night thought Trump was a bully. So you could look at what people might think this election is gonna be.
Is this — oops. I just saw the clock. I got take a break. It’s a good thing that I didn’t really get started in this and is V to interrupt myself. We’ll resume when I get back.
RUSH: All right. Now, so Donald Trump was told that he had to denounce white supremacists. He had to denounce the Backstreet Boys. He had to denounce Charlottesville. He had to denounce all this stuff. He’s already done that. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was never asked to denounce Antifa. In fact, Antifa was mischaracterized.
“Antifa’s not an organization. It’s an idea.” BS! It’s not just an idea. It is an organization of anti-capitalists and anarchists, and it’s got real people in it. Black Lives Matter is a Marxist/communist organization. It has nothing to do with civil rights. Biden was not asked to denounce them.
No, it was only Trump who was told that he had to denounce, and you should have heard it. Biden and the moderator ganging up on Trump. “Will you do it? Do it! Say it! You better do it! Say it!” Both of them ganging up on Trump. I can understand why Trump’s losing his mind here. I just… All this stuff, you know going in, and for some reason, expect it to be different.
I know many of you think that Trump was a bully, and I know that he makes Millennial women scared. But you know what? Forget bully. We need to get used to the fact that we have somebody who’s going to stand up and fight — and a lot of people saw that last night and appreciated it.
RUSH: This is Debbie in Amsterdam, New York. I’m glad you called. You’re up first today. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I listened to that debate last night, and Trump was being Trump. He’s angry, and I don’t blame him. Who would? From day one, they’ve been trying to impeach the man, and now we’re supposed to be like friends with them? Biden’s out there campaigning today that Trump should be pulling together the Congress. How do you pull together the Congress when all they’ve done is undermine him?
RUSH: Exactly right! What in the world…? Why is the onus always on Trump? Trump the guy they’re trying to destroy, the guy they’ve lied about. They have slandered. They have impugned. They have done everything they can to try to destroy him, his past, his life, his family, his career, and his future — and he is supposed to try to welcome them in? There’s no logical reason on earth why Trump would treat people this way.
CALLER: And also, they don’t really want him to be friends. They don’t… They never reached out to him for anything. Any meetings he had, Pelosi and Schumer ran out of the meetings and acted like 2-year-olds. You know, anyway, the other part I wanted to say is that I think Biden’s goal — I mean, Trump’s goal, I’m sorry — was accomplished ’cause he was trying to flush Biden out of the bush about the Green New Deal and how he felt about Antifa and the police. That’s what he was trying to do.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. We’re gonna get to that.
RUSH: I appreciate the call. That’s exactly right. What Trump did last night, you successfully got Biden to disavow the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat Party, and that’s the only reason Biden’s got the nomination. He’s out there; he’s disavowing the Green New Deal. He’s disavowing a bunch of things.
He’s come up with this newfangled definition of defund the police. No, that was masterful that Trump pulled that off, got Biden to denounce his own benefactors. What did that illustrate? What that illustrated is Biden knows damn well that the Green New Deal is not something on which the Democrats are gonna win the presidency.
They might win elections in certain pockets of the country, but they’re not gonna win a national election on the Green New Deal. They’re not gonna win a national election on this whole notion of defunding the cops. But the people that made sure Biden got the nomination — the people he made the deal with, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Crazy Bernie — he threw ’em under the bus.
Now, this was not something that was made readily apparent during the debate. It’s the kind of thing, however, that people on Biden’s side — the Crazy Bernies and the Cortezes — are gonna be steamed about. How it manifests itself within the Democrat Party, we’ll just have to wait and see. But it’s gonna be a problem because the radical left base of the Democrat Party thinks the Green New Deal is nirvana.
Here’s the guy running for president on their ticket disavowing it or acting like he doesn’t support it, doesn’t believe in it. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I read — I think it was either at the Hot Air or the Power Line blog. I’m not sure which. But apparently Neil Cavuto… Just before the debate started last night, Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network explained to everybody that everybody had agreed that Chris Wallace, the moderator, would not act as a fact-checker on stage.
Cavuto made this announcement on the Fox Business Channel, that if either Trump or Biden lied or if they made grand mistakes, it was up to the other candidate to call that out. That the moderator wasn’t gonna go there. In other words, the moderator wasn’t gonna be Candy Crowley. You remember the Candy Crowley reference. You remember that, right?
That was during the Mitt Romney-Obama debate, and Candy Crowley is telling Romney he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when Romney’s about to nail Obama on something. She interrupts, intercedes, and ends up acting as Obama’s debate partner. Well, this is largely what happened last night. Within the first half hour or so, the moderator began to break that rule.
He was fact-checking Trump in real time, almost exclusively fact-checking Trump. There was one time when Biden was having trouble remembering whether he was for or against the Green New Deal, and of course Biden was rescued in that moment. But, see, folks, here’s the thing. This debate or any other debate is not about the moderator and his questions. When Chris announced the questions some days in advance, I said, “Why?
“What’s point of this?” and then I saw he was gonna bring climate change. What the hell has climate change got to do with anything here? That is a… You know, I looked at all these lists of topics and every one of these topics has a direct route to a Trump vulnerability but not a Biden vulnerability, within the context of the left or the Democrat Party and the mainstream media.
But people did not tune in to make sure that the questions were answered. People didn’t tune in to make sure these candidates understood that they had to answer every one of these questions, and if they didn’t, that they were gonna be called out on it like Romper Room students who need to be disciplined. I guess the point I’m trying to make is the purpose of a presidential debate is not to hamper and constrain discussion so that questions can be asked on time.
You’ve gotta know when to get out of the way. You’ve gotta know when something is happening. And if Cavuto was telling the truth, that there was an agreement that there wouldn’t be any fact-checking by the moderator, well, that didn’t last very long. Now look, moderators… There’s nothing unique about Chris Wallace in this regard. I just gave you the Candy Crowley example.
This is common, and I think it’s one of the many things that had Trump frustrated last night. But I’ll tell you, Debbie is exactly right here. They’ve treated this man like garbage since his campaign began. They have shown no respect whatsoever. They have yet to accept the election results of 2016. They have lied. They have slandered. They have libeled.
They have literally attempted to destroy everything about Donald Trump. To expect him to be nice and welcoming and accepting and the onus is on him to somehow make peace when that’s not possible, is largely, again, another setup. James Woods, famous Hollywood actor, had a tweet: “President Trump crushed his opponent Chris Wallace head to head in the debate. There was also another fellow wandering around muttering to himself.”
Candace Owens tweeted: “Chris Wallace did everything possible to help Biden tonight. He relayed the ‘very fine people’ lie.” That’s the Charlottesville thing. Trump never said that there are very fine people in the neo-Nazi movement or in the skinhead movement. But it was repeated as though it’s gospel — and then this defund the police.
That’s very explicit what it means. But no, it was softened to “community policing,” and then, folks, the thing on critical race theory that came up. This is an absolute outrage what our governor is demanding of American corporations. Trump knows it and has put a stop to it, and they tried to turn that around into-flat-out racism when it isn’t. It is critical race theory.
Critical race theory gave us this guy, this professor who said that Amy Coney Barrett is exhibiting white colonization ’cause she adopted a couple of kids from Haiti. That’s the product of critical race theory. That kind of explaination. Trump is wiping that out. Businesses have been forced to do training seminars, reeducation camps for their employees to understand it, and it’s an outrage.
Last night, critical race theory was held up as something great and beneficial, when it isn’t. It is the epitome of racism, and Candace Owens concluded by saying, “And now Chris Wallace debating Trump one on one regarding climate change.” Now, again, you all know that I like Chris Wallace, and I respect him, and he treats me as fairly as anybody has in mainstream media when I’m on television with him.
And so this criticism is not of him personally. It’s just I can’t ignore it. This is not the kind of thing that I can come here and share with you my thoughts on the debate and not mention the role the moderator played in it last night. And I’m just struck by the fact that it isn’t about the questions. It’s not about whether you can get two grown men to behave like they’re in the sixth grade and whether or not they will accept the discipline and whether or not they will listen to the schoolteacher and listen to the authority in the room.
It’s about getting out of the way. It’s about realizing what is developing right in front of you. Donald Trump came wanting to debate. He came and he had a strategy. And he wanted to prevail. I don’t know what Biden’s strategy was. I think it was just to survive the 90 minutes. But one guy was denied the implementation of his strategy. Well, it wasn’t denied. It was interrupted and obstacles were placed in the way. And that’s to me not the role. But that’s just me.
There was a period during the debate for which I have the transcript here where they tried to set Trump up as a white supremacist and sympathetic to white supremacists. And it’s embarrassingly bad. It does demonstrate the double-team that occurred, one of the double-teams that occurred, but it also illustrates what Republicans in general are up against when it comes to race, the left, the Drive-By Media, and all that.
RUSH: We go to Binghamton in New York. This is Curtis. Great to have you, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: I have three points. Number one, Chris Wallace perceived his job as the moderator as being that he had to maintain the integrity of the structure of the debate to which both parties agreed. And, unfortunately, the president did not stick to that, and he talked when it wasn’t his turn, and the moderator would not tolerate that.
RUSH: Now, stop and — did you just listen to yourself there? The moderator did not tolerate that.
CALLER: That’s right. Both sides had agreed to what the format would be. And Trump did not honor his agreement. He needs to learn from this. In prior debates he was able to run it his way. But that’s not how a debate goes. Second, Biden’s team analyzed Trump’s style. They knew how he would approach things. And they formulated their approach to make him look bad. So Biden calls him a clown for not following the agreed-upon structure.
RUSH: That’s not why he called him a clown. And that’s not why he called him a racist. Biden violated the rules too. The moderator violated the rules. The moderator agreed not to do live fact-checking on stage. Everybody violated the rules. The rules are always the violated in these things. You just gotta back out and let things happen as they evolve.
CALLER: What I saw was that the team Biden had a plan —
RUSH: Well, you saw what you wanted to see.
CALLER: Well, I think a lot other people saw it this way and I think Trump has to learn from it. Biden had a plan, and they executed it flawlessly. It’s like a football game where you have an underdog, a worse-off team that analyzes better teams —
RUSH: What was the Biden plan?
CALLER: The Biden plan was to attack Trump with all their lies and they had a plan to put their points across. Trump came across as somebody who thought he could just go in there and wing it. He didn’t seem to have a strategy.
RUSH: Oh, yeah, he did. He had a strategy, and the strategy didn’t work. But he had a strategy. And he undermined his own strategy. I myself said so in the opening moments of today’s award-winning broadcast. The strategy was to have Biden implode based on the mental deficiencies that everybody is aware that he has. Now, you might think, “Well, that’s really mean.” But that’s what the strategy was.
The problem was that as Biden began to demonstrate that he had lost his place, telling that lie or this lie, Trump responded instead of letting Biden go and lose his place, because he was so ticked off at being lied about. So the strategy that Trump had was to let Biden implode. And when Biden started to implode, Trump saved him. Can’t get more objective than that out there, Curtis.
RUSH: Schaumburg, Illinois, Glenn, you’re next, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, thanks for taking my call, Rush. I appreciate it.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I echo your frustration with Chris Wallace last night. I think he showed his true anti-Trump colors. But what maybe frustrated me even more, if that’s possible, is neither Sean nor Laura critiqued Chris Wallace last night. A couple of the guests did —
RUSH: Well, what do you expect? Fox News Channel, and he’s one of their colleagues. And he hosts Fox News Sunday. That’s understandable to me.
CALLER: Yeah, but this was more frustrating, that, you know, they always say they’re fair and balanced, but they couldn’t go that extra mile of, you know, critiquing Chris Wallace. Not necessarily criticizing him —
RUSH: It doesn’t happen. I mean, on NBC, you don’t hear anybody ripping Chuck Todd for screwing up on Meet the Press this past Sunday or ripping into Savannah Guthrie for wearing the wrong color lipstick on the Today show. You just don’t see people on the same network ripping it. Now, in fact, this is one of the things that’s always amazed me on radio.
Radio, on the other hand, people on a single radio station will try to destroy each other. I mean, literally will. You’ll have the afternoon guy ripping into the morning guy or the midday guy — usually the midday guy. It happened to be me. I mean, they’re famous for it. And these rivalries that exist and the radio stations promote it. But you just don’t see it in news divisions, either broadcast or cable. And look. I need to issue a caveat here.
I haven’t changed in any way the affection I have for Chris Wallace. It matters to me that he has treated me with fairness and respect every time I go on his show. And it’s even funny. He asks me to tell you to not get mad at him when he interrupts me, that he’s got to interrupt me to keep things going. It’s a limited amount of time, and sometimes he’s gotta interrupt me and he always wants me to tell you not to get mad at him for doing that. And I always do.
But my appearing on Fox News Sunday is not anywhere near the equivalence of a presidential debate. You got two guys seeking the presidency, and you couldn’t have a greater contrast in the options that are available. And I think whatever happens on a stage where there is a debate, the debate should happen. Anyway, I appreciate the call, Glenn, but that doesn’t surprise me that you wouldn’t see criticism on the Fox News Channel, ’cause they don’t want to brook that, and they don’t want that to break out and become a daily occurrence across platforms on the network. Business-wise it makes no sense anyway. It literally makes no business sense.
Barb in Rodney, Michigan. You’re next. It’s great to have you on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Greetings from Michigan, Rush. We hope to be a red state soon.
RUSH: Yeah, that would be great.
CALLER: That would be great. You know, watching the debate was, you know, made your eyes want to bleed, but Chris Wallace set the pace with that first question about taxes. And don’t tell me he didn’t know that that $750 was the fee for an extension, not what he paid.
RUSH: He might not have known. I don’t know.
CALLER: How? If I know, it was in the news, he is the news —
RUSH: There we go. We’re making the assumption that people in the news business know more than you do. Don’t make that assumption.
CALLER: Well, in any case, he still was doing a hit job.
RUSH: Well, look, I understand your point. He was debating the president, and he’s not a candidate. What was he doing debating the president, right? That’s your point.
CALLER: Right. And he knew that the tax question being first was gonna push some of Trump’s buttons. And yet he wouldn’t let Trump bring in Hunter Biden. He cut him down every time he tried to say something about Hunter Biden.
RUSH: Well, yeah. We’re not gonna destroy a candidate’s family members here. So, yeah, I understand why you’d be sensitive to all that. Look. I wish I had more time, but I don’t. This is one I can’t move. Barb, I appreciate the call, but I gotta go.