PITTSBURGH – President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden kept up their debate-stage sniping from the road and the rails, fighting for working-class voters in the Midwest while both parties — and the debate commission, too — sought to deal with the most chaotic presidential faceoff in memory.
The debate raised fresh questions about Trump's continued reluctance to condemn white supremacy, his questioning the legitimacy of the election and his unwillingness to respect debate ground rules his campaign had agreed to. Some Democrats called on Biden on Wednesday to skip the next two debates.
Biden's campaign confirmed he would participate in the subsequent meetings, as did Trump's. But the Commission on Presidential Debates promised “additional structure ... to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues."
Less than 12 hours after the wild debate concluded, Biden called Trump's behavior in the prime-time confrontation a “a national embarrassment." The Democratic challenger launched his most aggressive day on the campaign trail all year, with eight stops on train tour that began mid-morning in Cleveland and ended 10 hours later in western Pennsylvania. Trump proclaimed his debate performance a smashing success during a Wednesday evening rally in Duluth, Minnesota.
"Last night I did what the corrupt media has refused to do," Trump said. “I held Joe Biden accountable for his 47 years of failure.”
Biden balanced criticism of Trump with a call for national unity.
“If elected, I’m not going to be a Democratic president. I’m going to be an American president," Biden said at the Cleveland train station. As his tour moved into Pittsburgh, he accused Trump of never accepting responsibility for his mistakes and promised, “I’ll always tell you the truth. And when I’m wrong, I’ll say so."
While some Republicans feared that Trump's debate performance was too aggressive, he gave himself high marks as he left Washington. He had spent much of the day assailing Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace on social media.