Trump Quiet? Unlikely

Can Trump be expected to act in a civil fashion at the next presidential debate planned for Thursday?

Can a leopard change its spots? Can a tiger changes its stripes? Can the pope have a bar mitzvah? Can a river flow upstream? Can Italians lay off the pasta? Can an old dog be taught new tricks? Can you touch your nose with your tongue? Can old habits die easily? Can you draw the number six while making clockwise circles with your leg? Can you out run a speeding bullet? Can George Washington tell a lie? Can you eat just one? Can you get to the end of the rainbow? Can you swim upstream? Can you spit into the wind? Can you tug on Superman’s cape? Can you turn back the hands of time? Can you stop the world from turning? Can you be in more than one place at a time? Can you get to heaven before they close the door? Can you hit two birds with one stone? Can you fool all of the people all of the time? Can you move a huge mountain? Can you fight city hall? Can you change the past? Can Kim Jong-un agree to blow up all of his missiles?

Alan Schroeder, an emeritus professor of journalism at Northeastern University who wrote a history of presidential debates, told the N.Y. Times that he’s a bit skeptical about Trump controlling himself.

“As long as one of the candidates fails to accept the basic premise of ‘I listen while you talk, you listen while I talk,’ the essential problem remains,” said Schroeder.

The first debate held in Cleveland was not a debate at all but an embarrassing, disgraceful performance as Trump tried unsuccessfully to bully his way over Joe Biden, all the while proving to the world that he is an incoherent, crude, uninformed, ignorant bore. To stop Trump from doing it again, the organizers of the second and final debate said they will turn off the microphone of the person who is not being questioned, with a few caveats otherwise known as devils in the details.


Our learned Professor Schroeder said that the plan “sounds good in theory, but I don’t see it as solving the problem.”

The caveats?

The topics will be the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, national security, leadership, “American families” and “race in America.” To learn more about any of these topics, don’t watch the so-called debate or at least turn your own mute button when the liar in chief speaks.

Each candidate will be allotted two minutes to initially answer the moderator’s questions while the rival candidate’s audio feed would be turned off. But here’s the catch. After each candidate has delivered a two-minute reply, Trump and Biden will be allowed to freely engage or with Trump, to rant, insult, blather, obfuscate and bloviate for the remainder of each 15-minute segment, with both microphones fully functional.

So it really just means that civility in the form of muting will be observed for the first two minutes of each answer. After that, look out and my money says it will devolve into another train wreck, circus of the kind that Trump loves but that in the end there will be no new information provided but there will be a lot of cringing people in homes across the land and one more nail in the coffin of American society.

Another possibility is that the microphones could pick up an opponent’s voice in the background. That’s easily solved by asking the president to keep his pie hole shut while Biden talks.

As I said earlier, the chances of him keeping his pie hole shut, stuffing a sock in it, shutting his trap, piping down, zipping his lips, ending his verbal diarreah, keeping shtum or otherwise keeping quiet are about as likely as that leopard changing his spots at the pope’s bar mitzvah.

By the way, did you see that Trump called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “disaster” and ordered the attorney general to investigate Hunter Biden, based on a roundly rejected story in the N.Y. Post and come up with a report by election day.

Just another day on the funny farm but I’m not laughing.


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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer