After a day of intense scrutiny for hesitating to clearly condemn white supremacy during the first debate, Donald Trump ended a campaign rally in Minnesota (relatively) quickly at 48-odd minutes on Wednesday.
The president, and his team, had spent most of the day in damage control after a debate, widely criticized as a train wreck on by all participants, drove a news cycle largely focused on Trump's cryptic comment the Proud Boys "stand back and stand by".
Aides were criticized for attempted defend the response, with CNN's Jake Tapper cutting short an interview with the Trump campaign's communications director Tim Murtaugh, saying "I'm not Chris Wallace".
After Tuesday night's debate, Chris Wallace may wish he wasn't Chris Wallace. The Fox News anchor came under fire for failing to control the chaos, admitting in an interview that his performance was a "terrible missed opportunity".
The Commission on Presidential Debates agreed, and announced it would add "addittional structure" to the remaining debates to avoid what the general consensus, from both sides of the aisle, agreed was a national embarrassment.
Freeing himself form such constraints, Trump flew to Duluth for one of his free-wheeling "Great American Comeback" rallies, which began with his own review of his own performance at the debate. He said, perhaps unsurprisingly, that he won big in the largest cable ratings broadcast ever. (His words).
While touching on the debate to characterize Joe Biden's description of the Democratic Party as "owning socialism", Trump kept (relatively) close to script before wrapping up. "It's freezing out here," he said at one point.
The president may hope that he keeps some warmth in his relationship with former campaign manager Brad Parscale, who said he was stepping away from the 2020 relection bid entirely to focus on family and help deal with "overwhelming stress".
It came amid reports the Trump family is worried Parscale will "start talking".
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