Conservative pundit S.E. Cupp had a blunt assessment of Donald Trump following his final presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Thursday ― don’t give the president too much credit for being relatively toned down, because the words coming out of his mouth were still highly questionable and often downright falsehoods.
CNN host Don Lemon asked Cupp, appearing on a panel of commentators, about Trump’s more subdued performance compared with his raging interruptions during the first debate in September, which CNN political analyst host Dana Bash had called a “shitshow.”
“I think we need to be really careful with the way we describe Trump’s debate performance,” Cupp responded. “By [CNN reporter and fact-checker] Daniel Dale’s standards, he lied more in this debate performance than in the quote-unquote ‘crazy’ debate, and the bar is so low (for Trump) that it’s on the floor. And so I get why we talk about, well, he was better this time. But that bar is so incredibly low. And I think we do a disservice when we talk about it in those terms.”
Cupp then referenced Trump’s claims during the debate that America was “learning to live with” COVID-19 ― despite the deaths of more than 220,000 people from the disease in the U.S., with over 1,100 reported deaths on Wednesday, the highest toll in over a month.
“This was a terrible debate for the president of the United States to get on a national stage and tell millions of Americans that COVID ain’t so bad and it’s going to be gone soon and winter’s going to be fine,” Cupp said.
Referring to a controversial aspect of the Trump administration’s migrant policy, she added, “To look in the camera and express absolutely zero compassion for kids separated from families; I could go on and on. It was a terrible debate performance and very, very sad for our country. So, I do think our language around his performance matters.”
Cupp, one of a cadre of GOP pundits who oppose Trump, previously had strong words for Vice President Mike Pence during his debate earlier this month with Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Cupp said that that the way Pence answered questions amounted to “gaslighting.”