Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

Pick a SPECIFIC date to explore

Sep 28: Global COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 1 Million.

Sep 29: Possibly the worst presidential debate of all time happens between Trump and Biden. Trump interrupts Biden and the debate moderator 128 times. U.S. national security officials warn that violent domestic extremists could threaten the fall presidential election. Regeneron releases study results from its ongoing phase 1/2/3 trial showing that its proposed monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, REGN-COV2, was linked to quicker recovery, reduced viral load, and the need for fewer medical visits. 

Sep 30: Biden’s fundraising surges in the wake of the disastrous debate. The White House blocks an extension of the CDC’s cruise ship “No Sail” order, Axios reports. HHS announces a plan to send 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests, developed by Abbott, to states by the end of the year. 

From the Cutting Room Floor ...

[Continued from the manuscript…]

Toward the end of the debate, Chris Wallace again gave Trump the opportunity to say that he would abide by two centuries of American presidential behavior and accept the results if he loses. Trump again spouted the discredited fear that there will be millions of fraudulent ballots cast as an excuse to not accept the election.[1] Instead, it seems that the GOP is moving to challenge all results.[2] The only real takeaway from this debate is that it shouldn’t happen ever again.[3] It seems clear than any future debate will have to allow the moderator to silence candidates’ microphones. Presidential debates can sometimes be pivotal moments in an election. Famously, in 1960, John F. Kennedy swept Richard Nixon in the nation’s first televised debates. Nixon had no understanding of how to hold himself on TV. He sweated and blustered while the handsome Kennedy breezed through with punchy quips and telegenic smiles. Many have seen that moment as a cause of Kennedy’s sweeping win. It is hard to know if this debate will translate into any electoral shifts. Nothing has seemed to deter Trump’s base heretofore, so I have my doubts. I turn off the television before the debate ends. It is just too awful, too seedy, like watching a bully stomp across a muddy middle school playground, ready to shove anyone who gets in his way down into that mud.


[1] Ed Kilgore, “Trump Closes Debate by Threatening Election Night Chaos,” Intelligencer, September 30, 2020,

[2] Associated Press, “Another GOP Challenge Tries to Block Absentee Ballot Order,”, September 30, 2020,; Anita Kumar, “Trump Readies Thousands of Attorneys for Election Fight,” POLITICO, September 27, 2020,

[3] Zoë Richards, “After Trump’s Debate Tantrum, Commentators Question Whether Others Should Go Forward,” Talking Points Memo, September 30, 2020,

Read more
President Donald Trump declined to clearly condemn white supremacist groups and their role in violence during the first presidential debate, at one point telling the neo-fascist group “Proud Boys” to “stand back and stand by.” Associated Press. Trump Tells Proud Boys: “Stand Back and Stand By,” 2020.

“The first 2020 presidential debate,” PBS NewsHour, September 29, 2020,

Associated Press. “Another GOP Challenge Tries to Block Absentee Ballot Order.”, September 30, 2020.
Collins, Ben, and Brandy Zadrozny. “Proud Boys Say They Are ‘standing down and Standing by’ after Trump’s Debate Callout.” NBC News, September 29, 2020.
Cronin, Mark. “A Guide to Trump’s Reality TV Debate Techniques.” Columbia Journalism Review, September 28, 2020.
Fox News. “Undecided Voters Left Disappointed, Frustrated by First Presidential Debate: Pollster Frank Luntz.” Fox News, September 30, 2020.
Gabbatt, Adam. “Trump’s Refusal to Condemn White Supremacy Fits Pattern of Extremist Rhetoric.” The Guardian, September 30, 2020, sec. US news.
Harris, John F. “An Epic Moment of National Shame: The Debate Was an Embarrassment for the Ages.” POLITICO, September 30, 2020.
Kilgore, Ed. “Trump Closes Debate by Threatening Election Night Chaos.” Intelligencer, September 30, 2020.
Kumar, Anita. “Trump Readies Thousands of Attorneys for Election Fight.” POLITICO, September 27, 2020.
Lim, Clarissa-Jan. “The First Debate Between Trump And Biden Was A Stressful, Chaotic Trash Fire.” BuzzFeed News, September 29, 2020.
McLaughlin, Dan. “Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden.” National Review (blog), September 30, 2020.
Richards, Zoë. “After Trump’s Debate Tantrum, Commentators Question Whether Others Should Go Forward.” Talking Points Memo, September 30, 2020.
Togoh, Isabel. “Why Last Night’s Debate Is Already Considered The Worst In Presidential History.” Forbes, September 30, 2020.
Wolpe, Bruce. “The Worst Debate in Modern American History: How Hope Was Mugged in the Trump-Biden Clash.” The Sydney Morning Herald, September 30, 2020.
Pope, Kyle. “Journalism Must Show Trump as He Is, Not Seek Normalcy.” Columbia Journalism Review, September 30, 2020.
Tufekci, Zeynep. “This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic.” The Atlantic, September 30, 2020.
Social Media
Additional Links