It began well. The President showed up. There had been some thought that Donald Trump might skip the event, but here he was, ready to play by new rules designed to curtail his bad behaviour. Yet if he arrived prepared to have his speech muted by the debate moderator, it was also clear that he was not going to be muted in his appearance. This was Trump projecting the hyper-virility of the past couple of weeks; his usual orange hue now nudging up the colour chart into the autumnal browns, making his straw hair look more unreal, his pink lips more pronounced every time he pouted through his enforced silences.