Donald Trump and Joe Biden took to the stage last night for the first presidential debate of the 2020 general election cycle and after 90 minutes of back-and-forth, the differences between the candidates could not be more clear. The incumbent president spent the entire debate interrupting Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, displaying all of the self-control of a child and spewing a neverending torrent of lies and misinformation.
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Biden managed to rise above the embarrassing behavior of his opponent and spoke directly to the American people, laying out a blueprint for how he intends to build this country back up after the incompetence and devastation of the Trump era.
At one point in the course of the night, the issue of climate change came up. As usual, Trump flaunted his anti-science beliefs, refusing to state unequivocally that humans are causing these existentially threatening changes, preferring instead to dissemble and ramble about forest fires so as to not upset his fossil fuel backers. Biden on the other hand recognizes that addressing climate change is a life or death challenge for our species and has a robust plan for tackling it.
In a hamfisted and ill-advised attempt to paint Biden as some super-leftist candidate, Trump claimed that Biden supports the Green New Deal backed by people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). Without casting aspersions on the GND, Biden calmly explained that it is not, in fact, his climate plan and that he has his own Biden plan which aims to reach a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions in the United States by 2050. You can read all about it here.
Republicans saw Biden’s response and ignorantly interpreted it as an opportunity to divide the Democratic Party. Kellyanne Conway tweeted out Biden’s quote about the Green New Deal and tagged Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, presumably thinking that they’d be angry that Biden wasn’t endorsing their specific approach to climate change.
It was a particularly bad faith stratagem on Conway’s part given the fact that the Republican plan for addressing climate change is to pretend it doesn’t exist while stuffing mountains of oil money into their party coffers. Democrats may disagree on the best plan, but they agree that we need one.
"The Green New Deal Is Not My Plan" – @joebiden
"I don't support the Green New Deal"
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) September 30, 2020
AOC, never one to back down from a confrontation with Republicans, retweeted Conway’s message and said that it “isn’t news” that Biden’s plan is not the Green New Deal. She explained that she has differences with the former vice president, but that those differences are why she joined his Climate Unity Task Force. Together, the Democrats can move past their differences and “figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.”
“Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded, making the only real point worth making when discussing climate change as it relates to the presidential race. Trump and his surrogates have no leg to stand on with this issue and they’d be better off keeping their collective mouth shut.
This isn’t news, Kellyanne.
Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.
Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
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