It was a tale of two Town Halls last night as Donald Trump and Joe Biden took questions in separate events from likely voters.
As many on social media noted, the tone and tenor of the events couldn’t have been more different.
Donald Trump was being combative with his host, NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie when she would ask follow-up questions to many of his vague responses.
Over on ABC, Biden was calm and collected as he looked each person in the eye as he answered their questions. At one point, his answer was so lengthy and detailed, host George Stephanopoulos interrupted to ask the questioner if they’d gotten the response they needed.
Another clear difference between the two events was Trump’s town hall was only an hour (low-energy) and Biden’s was 90 minutes. But even after those 90 minutes, Biden stayed in the TV studio and answered follow-up questions from folks in the venue.
This awesome mom Mieke Haeck asked Joe Biden about how he’d protect her trans daughter, cited the Trump-Pence administration’s rollback of trans rights pic.twitter.com/k23GTQkAKA
— Brennan Suen (@brennansuen) October 16, 2020
The Biden town hall marked one of the few times LGBTQ issues came up in a broadcast election event as Joe Biden clearly and with no equivocation vowed to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
When Mieke Haeck, a mother of two including an 8-year-old transgender daughter, asked how he would reverse Trump’s anti-LGBTQ actions,
“The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people,” asked Haeck, “banning them from military service, weakening non-discrimination protections, and even removing the word ‘transgender from some government websites. How will you, as president, reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”
Biden was direct and unwavering in his response.
“I will flat-out just change the law,” he told Haeck, adding that he would reverse Trump’s anti-LGBTQ executive orders.
Biden also recounted an anecdote from his youth when he and his father witnessed two men sharing a kiss in public. Upon seeing the kiss, Biden turned to his father who said simply, “Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.”
Circling back around to the beginning of the issue, Biden was clear: “There should be zero discrimination.”
Asked what he would say to LGBTQ Americans and others who are worried “about erosions of their rights,” former VP Biden says “I think there’s great reason to be concerned for the LGBTQ community, something I fought very hard for.” https://t.co/JEyTOkB6qk #BidenTownHall pic.twitter.com/BnZ8XSOJSA
— ABC News (@ABC) October 16, 2020
Biden also took a question from a gentleman who asked Biden what he would say to LGBTQ Americans and others who are worried about erosions of their rights. Biden said, “I think there’s great reason to be concerned for the LGBTQ community, something I fought very hard for.”
At the Trump Town Hall, things were a little bit more contentious. When Savannah Guthrie asked Trump about retweeting misinformation and conspiracy theories, he blew the question off.
One such retweet contained a conspiracy theory that Biden and President Barack Obama orchestrated a cover-up regarding Navy SEAL Team Six faking the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden.
“That was a retweet,” defended Trump. “That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.”
“You’re the president,” Guthrie responded. “You’re not someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.”
Pres. Trump: “That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.” @SavannahGuthrie: “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.” #TrumpTownHall pic.twitter.com/Im0QFy7VOU
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 16, 2020
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg saw his tweet go viral (shared over 47K times, Liked over 350K times) when he shared, “Just imagine turning on the TV, seeing your president, and feeling your blood pressure go down instead of up.”
And Donald Trump’s own niece, Mary Trump, scored with a single word tweet when someone playfully took issue with Savannah Guthrie referring to Trump as “someone’s crazy uncle.” #Actually
By the way, Biden’s town hall on ABC News reportedly drew 2.3 million more viewers than the Trump town hall on NBC News. Variety reports Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers on the Disney-owned network, while Trump drew 10.4 million in the same 9-10 p.m. time slot on NBC.
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) October 16, 2020
More reactions from Twitter about the dueling Town Hall events below.
Just imagine turning on the TV, seeing your president, and feeling your blood pressure go down instead of up.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) October 16, 2020
Actually . . . https://t.co/tdmNIjBP4j
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) October 16, 2020
My blood pressure is now down significantly. @JoeBiden is coming across as sincere and humble.
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) October 16, 2020
Donald Trump talks more about Joe Biden’s son than he does about any of his.
— Windsor Mann (@WindsorMann) October 15, 2020
The event is over, the commentators are moving on, the studio crew closing up… and yet @JoeBiden stands and continues to take questions from the voters in the room. This is a man that truly cares about people. pic.twitter.com/r2ciq9ABVW
— John Bisognano (@johnbisognano) October 16, 2020
After an hour the candidates appear… wait…Trump is done?!! Left the building already.? @JoeBiden is still holding his town hall? Talking to voters? Answering questions? Sorry @realDonaldTrump you may call him Sleepy Joe, but we know who’s got the stamina! #TownHalls
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) October 16, 2020