MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace described President Trump’s presidential debate behavior as abusive Tuesday night, adding she thinks men and women viewers may have different opinions about his performance.
“Trump did not act as a debater. Donald Trump was the abuser,” Wallace said before declaring Trump was “cheating” throughout the debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
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“I’ve participated in debate negotiations, there are rules. Donald Trump didn’t follow them,” Wallace said. “I wonder, very seriously, whether conversations are being had among the subsequent moderators about what to do with an abusive participant. Donald Trump abused the process.”
Wallace said Trump sought to “abuse” Biden — and gender could be an issue for how people judge the debate.
“Men and women, I think, will react to this very differently. I think in the face of abuse, there is just a human instinct to defend. So I think men might feel like Joe Biden missed opportunities to punch back,” Wallace said. “I think women might have appreciated that this didn’t descend into pure violence.”
Wallace then said Trump’s debate performance “felt like an assault” but believes it was a calculated strategy by the president.
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“It felt like an assault on our senses, it felt like an assault on our presidential campaign process, it felt like another assault on our politics because that’s what it was,” Wallace said. “However, I said this before the debate started, this was the plan. They prepped for this. He didn’t wing it.”
Wallace pondered what Trump’s long-term plan is because she doesn’t think the “assault” strategy won did him any favors with undecided women. Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate again Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.
“That ain’t gonna win you one single vote from a mom in the suburbs,” she said. “That ain’t it.”