Opinion: Trump behaved during the final debate. Our readers were still unimpressed

Joe Biden, left, President Trump and moderator Kristen Welker on stage during the final presidential debate on Oct. 22.
Joe Biden, left, President Trump and moderator Kristen Welker on stage during the final presidential debate in Nashville on Oct. 22.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Well that felt ... normal. By appearances alone, the final debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden brought back long-ago memories of 2012 and 2008, when the candidates refrained from insulting the moderator and understood that frequent interruptions came off as childish. The substance, on the other hand, was decidedly 2020, and that’s primarily what our readers touched on in letters to the editor.

To many of our readers, the veneer of civility failed to obscure the ugliness of Trump’s statements on immigrants and the coronavirus pandemic. This isn’t to say Biden escaped criticism, but, as with just about everything else since 2015, our letter writers’ attention was on Trump.

Elaine Lubkin of Los Angeles does not take comfort in Trump’s behavior:


Why are so many people thrilled that the president of the United States was coherent in the last debate? Is coherence by a president a unique quality that should be celebrated?

Let’s not forget that while we’re giddy with excitement that the president didn’t go off the rails, according to fact checkers, much of what he said was false or misleading.

Art Lacher of La Cañada Flintridge latches onto a Trump statement on immigrants:

Trump said something that I found shocking.

The president said that only the “lowest IQ” immigrants who have been detained and released pending a hearing actually show show up to court. After the debate I watched numerous TV commentators and, amazingly, no one brought this up.

In the past, Trump has said his tax avoidance makes him “smart.” With these statements, what he is actually saying is that if you are honest, you have a low IQ.

These comments say a lot about our president. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised that this is how he actually thinks.


Bill Higbee of Long Beach doesn’t like how we’re talking about immigration:

I am sick and tired of the news media and the presidential candidates referring to the “separation of children from their parents at the border.”

This is not “separation.” Under Trump, our government has kidnapped children.

If you or I kidnapped children, we would go to prison, and rightfully so. When our government kidnaps children, it is called “separation.”

Bart Braverman of Indio weighs the faults of both nominees:

In the final debate, Trump’s lack of ability and ethics shined like a beacon. On the other hand, Biden had difficulty putting a coherent thought together. His one towering advantage over the president is that he is a decent human being and everyone knows it.

There were a dozen opportunities for Biden to step up, take off the nice-guy gloves and call Trump a liar to his face, especially when he uttered the nonsense about coyotes and drug cartels bringing children over as a cover. The child separation scheme was devised by former Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and White House advisor Stephen Miller as a way of scaring away potential immigrants. Biden could have and should have stuck that in his face.

My vote is already in and counted, and that’s the only thing that matters. Now it’s time to hold our breath.