He wouldn’t have needed to do much, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Asked to condemn white supremacists, the president was suddenly tongue-tied. Rather than rejecting the hate-mongering Proud Boys, Trump told them to “stand back” and then menacingly added, “Stand by.”
Joe Biden, who clearly was trying to follow a debate strategy of laughing his way through Trump’s antics, periodically lost it during the president’s sewer-dwelling serenades. At one point, Biden spoke for nearly everyone who had hoped for a remotely dignified debate when he said to Trump, “Would you shut up, man?”
Remember that Biden came of age in the Senate of the 1970s where even segregationist senators maintained surface courtesies and sometimes displayed personal kindness. Biden, the former seven-term senator, always showed respect for the office of the president even when the incumbent was Richard Nixon.
Even just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine Biden saying “Would you shush” to a sitting president, or calling him “Donald” rather than Mr. President in a formal public setting.