Among the ‘highlights’ of the 90-minute long US Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden were matters like the coronavirus response, systemic racism, unemployment, Trump’s taxes, and how his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett could reshape the Supreme Court.
Purported to be a debate between the two candidates, it actually turned out to be a 3-man debate as President Trump sparred with both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. While Trump couldn’t stop interrupting and flinging allegations at his opponent, Biden struggled to put forth some of his arguments with lucidity and often came across as a bit tedious.
The first Presidential debate of 2020 turned out to be a 3-man affair as President Trump went on arguing with both Biden and Wallace.
The Presidential candidates met in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. In a debate that can best be described as messy and drifting, Trump and Biden took personally rancorous jibes at each other instead of elucidating their plans for the country.
Watch: Trump, Biden get heated in the first presidential debate
While the US President appeared to be debating in signature Trump style – irrational, with a chronic habit of interrupting the opponent, there came a moment when Joe Biden lashed against Trump telling him to shut up.
Here are the highlights of the first US presidential debate of 2020.
“Will you shut up man?”
One of the major differences throughout an hour and a half long battle was how Trump attempted to prove Biden’s professional competence while Biden addressed voters directly, looking into the camera. The 74-year-old Trump went on to insist that the 77-year-old Biden is not physically or mentally fit to be president.
In a nasty debate, what seemed more like a high school argument, Trump and Biden spoke ill of each other, questioning their rival’s competence
“There’s nothing smart about you, Joe. 47 years you have done nothing.”Said Donald Trump
“You are the worst president America has ever had.”Responded Joe Biden
Moderator Chris Wallace had a hard time keeping Trump from interrupting Biden every time he spoke. There was a point when it seemed that the debate was between Trump and Chris Wallace.
On handling and containing the pandemic
Joe Biden intensified his attack on the incumbent during this segment. But he was soon eclipsed by Trump’s groundless but loud assertions. The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak was widely expected to be the crux of the US presidential debate and it proved true to some extent. The former Vice President called attention to the President’s disastrous management of the pandemic, irresponsibility with masks and precautions. He slammed Trump for his disregard about the gravity of the crisis and reopening America sooner than he should have. He claimed that Trump panicked.
Trump countered by talking about travel restrictions and endeavouring for vaccines at the most initial stage. In regards to the national lockdown, Trump argued that people wanted this too. He said that Americans wanted to return to earning their living. He lashed out against Biden telling him that he is not the president and therefore, he would not understand how to handle such a situation.
On law and order, and racism
Another significant issue on the agenda was the ongoing racial unrest. The talk around the #BlackLivesMatter movement, racists White Supremacists and far-left Antifa was the biggest highlight of the first US Presidential debate of 2020.
When Wallace asked Trump whether or not the President denies White Supremacy and if he believes that systematic racism exists in America, the President answered insensitively. He did not once accept that systematic racism was still prevalent in America. Instead he blamed the left-wing for an alleged radical revolution. On white supremacy and militia groups, Trump again targeted the left. “Sure, I am willing to do that,” he said. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and left.”
When asked by Trump ‘Are you in favor of law and order’, Biden said, “Law and Order with justice – where people get treated fairly.” Biden disagreed with the protestor’s demand of defunding the police and said that they are working day and night to protect us and there are some bad apples that should be removed from them. Donald Trump didn’t miss this chance of digging some past laws brought in effect by Joe Biden. He talked about how the 1994 crime bill co-drafted by Joe Biden increased police funding, increased the number of categories of federal crimes and boosted penalties. Trump commented, “you have treated the Black community about as bad as anybody in the country.”
On Trump’s tax evasion
Wallace brought up the most heated topic of the week, the revelation about Trump’s taxes evasion. He asked him if the news is true, which Trump denied saying, “I have paid millions of dollars in taxes.” Joe Biden instantly demanded, “then release your tax returns.”
Biden, a few hours before the debate, released his tax returns for the financial year 2019. His statements revealed that he paid $300,000 in federal taxes. The tax discussion evolved into a broader conversation on economic policy. Here, Trump attacked Biden’s son for his Hunter Biden’s international business dealings. Biden was witnessed getting emotional while defending his son.
On Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett
As soon as the topic about Barrett’s nomination came up, Biden questioned Trump’s motives. He argued that it is against the will of people as Barrett has been nominated between elections. People are still to vote and decide who gets to make decisions on their behalf. “That’s the only way American people get to express their views,” he stated, further commenting that a conservative majority in the Supreme Court could result in ruling out the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, it can jeopardize the abortion rights. He directly addressed the people of the nation and said America should speak and people should go out and vote.