Last night’s presidential debate was widely seen as the worst in history after a bullying performance by Donald Trump wherein he repeatedly interrupting the proceedings with snide insults and repeated easily disprovable lies.
One got the sense while watching this encounter — one that CNN’s Dana Bash was so appalled by that she blurted out the word “shitshow” on live TV to describe it — that the president’s antics were alienating to anyone with an IQ over 80 while designed to make his supporters applaud his surly and domineering style.
While just about every Trump surrogate spent the aftermath of the debate crowing about what beautiful clothes the emperor was wearing, a less flattering opinion was expressed by some of the president’s more usually reliable sycophants, the hosts of Fox News‘ Fox & Friends morning show.
Brian Kilmeade started his take on the debate predictably enough, calling Joe Biden rude for saying that Trump is a clown and “the worst president ever” — although not presenting any evidence to refute those two assertions.
Kilmeade, however, then turned around and slammed Trump for his shocking refusal to forthrightly condemn white supremacy in this diverse country.
“Donald Trump blew the biggest layup in the history of debates by saying, not condemning white supremacists,” he said. “I don’t know if he didn’t hear it, but he’s got to clarify that right away. That’s like ‘Are you against evil?’ Why the president didn’t knock that out of the park I’m not sure.”
Jaws likely dropped in homes where Fox News is a regular staple in the occupants’ daily viewing diet.
By adding “Stand by” to his call to the violent extremist far-right gang The Proud Boys to stand down, Trump fueled further fears that he will respond to any election result other than his own victory with accusations of a rigged election — allegations for which he has already laid substantial groundwork through his false allegations that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud — and with a call for violence from his armed and dangerous followers.
Trump’s calls for his voters to go to the polling places and “monitor” the poll workers raises the dread specter of widespread voter intimidation on election day and should encourage those who have the opportunity to take advantage of early voting or mail-in ballots to do so.
Brian Kilmeade wasn’t the only Fox & Friends host disappointed with Donald Trump’s performance in the debate.
Steve Doocy was equally unimpressed with the president.
“You know how you really look forward to Friday night, and you plan on going to your favorite restaurant, and you get there after a week of anticipation and it’s like ‘Hmm, that was just okay.’ I think a lot of people today are frustrated because we thought, on this, the post-game show, we’d have a winner… We didn’t see that.”
Ainsley Earhardt, the third host of the morning show, shared the observation she made while walking to work this morning.
“Everybody was just shaking their heads,” Earhardt said. She then went on to add: “Punches were thrown, it got a little nasty… But I don’t think any minds were changed after watching last night, there weren’t any big zingers.”
Brian Kilmeade summed up the ultimate pan of the debate by noting that “we were the big losers last night,” referring to the American people, but equally and particularly applicable to the Trump campaign and the president’s deluded supporters.
You can watch the rare sight of Donald Trump being called out on Fox News for his failures in the video excerpt below.
Fox & Friends' immediate debate takes — disappointed about no "knockout punch," "when we were walking into work this morning everyone was just shaking their heads," and "we were the big losers last night, meaning the American people." pic.twitter.com/Xc2yx6MGKJ
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 30, 2020
Original reporting by Jamie Ross at The Daily Beast.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.