Jake Tapper: “It wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace. And it’s primarily because of President Trump”

Dana Bash: “That was a shit show”

Video file

Citation From the September 29, 2020, edition of CNN's First Presidential Debate

JAKE TAPPER (CO-HOST): That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace. 

And it's primarily because of President Trump, who spent the entire time interrupting, not abiding by the rules that he agreed to, lying, maliciously attacking the son of the vice president. When asked to condemn white supremacists, he brought up the name of a neo-fascists far-right group and said “stand back," and “stand by." We'll talk about who won the debate, who lost the debate, but I can tell you one thing for sure, the American people lost tonight, because that was horrific.

DANA BASH (CO-HOST): You just took the words out of my mouth. You used some high-minded language, I'm just going to say it like it is. That was a shit show, and, you know, we're on cable. We can say that. Apologies for being maybe a little bit crude, but that is really the phrase that I'm getting from people on both sides of the aisle on texts, and it's the only phrase that I can think of to really describe it.

And I couldn't agree with you more, Jake. The people who have been hurt the most by that are the people who are genuinely looking to see what each candidate stands for, and who they should vote for.

There are still people out there who haven't made up their mind, either on which candidate to vote for or whether to vote. And I'm not sure that, particularly on the later point, that that performance and that the theater there, the reality TV show, the bad reality TV show is going to help them in the least.