When it was announced that the second Presidential Debate was cancelled due to the Biden and Trump campaign’s inability to reach an agreement over a remotely distanced meeting rather than in person, both candidates ended up facing off in separate Town Halls airing on opposing networks at the exact same time Thursday night. Joe Biden appeared on ABC with George Stephanopoulos as moderator in a 90-minute telecast that showcased his ease with voters on both sides. as well as his knowledge on the issues that mattered to those questioning him as he gave well-thought-out responses. Biden stayed long after the Town Hall ended and the cameras were turned off just to speak with the audience members who hadn’t had the chance to ask their questions during the live broadcast.
Conversely, Trump’s 60-minute appearance on NBC with Savannah Guthrie acting more as an interviewer than moderator was a typical Trump performance, full of complaints and lies. Guthrie had been widely criticized for participating in the Town Hall when it was first announced, but was receiving kudos by its end for grilling Trump on his lies and forcing him to answer questions he clearly wasn’t willing to answer.
But what matters most to Donald Trump is the optics of winning, and he definitely lost to Joe Biden Thursday night both in the court of public opinion as well as in the ratings, as #BidenTownHall stayed at the top of the trends and #TrumpTownHall never rose above its competing trend.
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) October 16, 2020
Even Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, is being forced to confront the very real possibility of Trump losing not just the next Presidential debate, which is still scheduled for October 22nd, but the election itself.