Trump Set The Bar For His Debate Performance So Low That Some People Actually Thought He Did Well

Huffington Post

Between Donald Trump’s unhinged behavior at the first presidential debate and his nightmare news week, expectations for how he’d perform at the second debate were low.

To recap: Trump spent the first debate babbling, lying and interrupting Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Since then, he has faced a number of scandals, including a video that leaked on Friday showing the GOP nominee bragging about being able to sexually assault women because he’s famous.

So when he managed to get through Sunday night’s event without having a complete meltdown (or talking about his genitals again), many pundits, GOP supporters and viewers applauded him.

CNN’s Jake Tapper called the debate, during which Trump described Clinton as the “devil” and threatened to throw her in jail, “a wash.”

“The first 20 minutes, half hour, I thought Donald Trump was erratic and going off the rails and then I thought he turned it around to a degree,” Tapper said. “I think that he prosecuted the case against Hillary Clinton that was effective and stayed with the them about she has been in Washington for a long time, it’s all words, no action. And so, I thought this was a much better debate performance than his first debate performance. He may have staunched some of the bleeding that we’ve seen in his campaign in recent days.”

GOP pollster Frank Luntz congratulated Trump for not being “mean and nasty.” The hosts of the conservative talk radio show “Chicks On The Right,” praised Trump for discussing “issues.”

Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich said the GOP nominee was “more than holding his own.”

Fox News contributor Guy Benson also applauded Trump for improving and CNN’s Maeve Reston said that the former reality TV star proved he could “pivot.”

It wasn’t just pundits, though. A CNN poll about the debate found that most viewers thought Trump did better than they expected he would.

In the post-debate spin room, Brexit leader Nigel Farage offered the strangest praise of the night:

Perhaps the best analysis, however, came from “Parks and Recreation” creator Michael Schur (a.k.a. Ken Tremendous):

Yep, that’s pretty much what happened.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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