CNN anchor Jake Tapper said what we were all thinking on Tuesday night following the first 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck,” the veteran newsman said minutes after the two men exited the stage in Cleveland. “That was the worst debate I have ever seen.”
Tapper continued to go off on the night’s spectacle—which featured, among other things, the president refusing to condemn white supremacy—saying it “wasn’t even a debate” and instead was a “disgrace.”
“And it’s primarily because of President Trump,” he sighed, “who spent the entire time interrupting and not abiding by the rules he agreed to. Lying. Maliciously attacking the son of the vice president. When asked to condemn white supremacy, he brought up the name of a far-right group and said stand back and stand by.”
“We’ll talk about who won the debate and who lost,” Tapper continued. “One thing for sure, the American people lost tonight. That was horrific.”
CNN correspondent Dana Bash was even more direct than her colleague, saying Tapper took the words out of her mouth before using a bit of profanity to describe the train wreck.
“I’m going to say it like it is,” Bash declared. “That was a shitshow. We’re on cable. We can say it. Apologies for being crude. But that is really the phrase I’m getting from people on both sides of the aisle on text and the only phrase I can think of to describe it.”
CNN political reporter Abby Phillip also agreed with the panel, calling the debate a “complete disaster” and adding that Trump was the main perpetrator of the debate devolving into an unwatchable mess.
“The president was really—I think in a very agitated state,” she said. “Early on in the debate. And the tone was set.”
Tapper jumped back in to rap moderator Chris Wallace for failing to keep Trump in check throughout the debate, noting that Trump was “rude” and his behavior was “frankly embarrassing.”
“He didn’t have control of the debate stage for much of the evening,” Tapper said of the Fox News anchor. “He didn’t remind the president he was violating the rules until one hour and 13 minutes into the debate.”