Trump's Team Made A Major Error Hours Before The Debate

Ahead of the 2020 election in November, the two presidential candidates took the stage on Sept. 29, facing each other for the first time in what will be a series of debates. Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden entered the stage as confident as ever — not shaking hands because, duh, coronavirus — and maintained their adversarial demeanor as the debate got underway. Biden and Trump discussed everything from the economy and healthcare to the latest Supreme Court justice pick and Trump's taxes. It got pretty heated at times, with Trump repeatedly cutting Biden off and talking over moderator Chris Wallace, while Biden very literally told Trump to "shut up, man" and cracked a nervous smile more than once.

While the entire affair seemed more of an unruly argument than an orderly debate, President Trump's team seemed to think otherwise. In fact, the campaign seemed to think the debate had gone decidedly in Trump's favor — and said so several hours before the debate had even begun.

President Trump's team blundered on a premature email

That's right, according to a Politico article published at 7:37 PM ET, President Donald Trump sent an email to his voter base claiming he had already finished the debate hours before it even began, at 9 PM ET. The fundraising email seemed to have been sent out prematurely, based on the language and the fact that it was sent out at about 6:30 PM on Tuesday. "I finished debating Joe Biden," the email read. 

Trump also claimed that his performance would "go down in HISTORY" and asked for donations from his subscribers. "I showed the American People that I will ALWAYS fight to put America First no matter what and that I will NEVER stop working to Make America Great Again," the email continued about his performance — that was yet to take place.

The email even seemed to jump the gun on how much they raised on debate night, saying to subscribers that "you chose not to step up and help make TODAY our BEST fundraising day EVER."

President Trump followed in Joe Biden's footsteps

While the reason for the mix-up is still unknown, it's not only President Donald Trump who has made this kind of mistake. In fact, Joe Biden sent out a similar email in November 2019, about six hours before the Democratic presidential debate was set to start, according to a separate report by Politico. In that email, Biden claimed he was "leaving the fifth Democratic debate now."

"I hope I made you proud out there, and I hope I made it clear to the world why our campaign is so important," Biden's email went on. At the time, Biden's team followed up with an email acknowledging the mistake seemingly taking it in stride. "Oops," the follow-up email was titled. "You might have just gotten an email from Joe about just getting off of the debate stage. That's our bad."

"We know Joe is going to make us proud tonight. We were just so excited for it that we accidentally hit send too soon," the email joked. It's yet to be seen whether Trump's team will send out a similar follow-up email acknowledging his mistake. 

President Trump's campaign doubled down

Despite the mind-numbing debate and initial email faux pas, Trump's team still thought he did a great job. In a statement obtained by Fox News, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien called the event a resounding success, saying, "President Trump just turned in the greatest debate performance in presidential history, displaying a command of the facts and control of the conversation." He also took a swipe at Biden, describing him as "too weak to be president," and "unable to explain his 47 years of failure as a Washington politician."

Unsurprisingly, Biden's camp did not agree. "It was very hard to follow what was being said, and President Trump showed not just disrespect to the moderator, but to the American people who tuned in trying to figure out what his plans are," Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Biden surrogate, told Politico hours after the debate, referring to the constant stream of interruptions coming from President Trump.

Speaking over his opponent may have been a strategic choice by the president. When speaking of the president's debate style, one longtime Republican spokesperson explained it to Politico like this: "Trump is the biggest dog in the junkyard... The job for Biden tonight was to seem strong enough to do the job and Trump took direct aim at that. He's a bully. But after he kicked sand in Biden's face, Biden needed to be stronger and he just wasn't."

Amid rumors that Biden should skip the next debates altogether, his campaign insists that he plans to do no such thing.