US election 2020: Trump and Biden duel in chaotic, bitter debate
Media playback is not supported on your device
Media signatureBiden: Do you believe what he’s telling you for a moment?
President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden have argued in one of the chaotic and wildest White House debates in years.
During the 90-minute forum in Cleveland, Ohio, the two battled the pandemic, white supremacy and the economy to angry shouts and attribution.
Mr Biden called the President a “clown” and told him to “shut up”. Mr Trump brought up the drug use of his rival’s son.
According to opinion polls, Mr Biden has a steady single-digit lead over Mr Trump.
But with 35 days to go until election day, polls from several key states show closer competition.
The debate centered on six topics in 15-minute sections – the Candidates’ Records, the Supreme Court, the pandemic, race, electoral integrity and the economy.
In a back and forth punctuated by insults, 77-year-old Biden said to 74-year-old Trump, “You are the worst president America has ever had.”
How did they come across race and white supremacy?
In one of the most discussed exchanges of the night, the moderator asked the president if he was ready to condemn white supremacists.
He initially said he would, but when asked to denounce the far-right Proud Boys group by name, he stepped out of the way.
Mr Trump said, “Proud guys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, someone has to do something against Antifa and the left.”
Media playback is not supported on your device
Media signature“Proud guys, stand back and stand by” – Trump
Previously, Mr Biden said, “This is a president who has used anything but a dog whistle to create racial hatred and division.”
Mr. Trump countered that Mr. Biden, while promoting the 1994 Crime Act, referred to African Americans as “super-predators”.
The Democrat denied saying anything like that. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Biden warned in 1993 about “predators on our streets” that were “beyond the pale”.
Mr Trump also said, “You can’t even say the word ‘law enforcement’ because if you said those words you’d lose all of your radically left-wing supporters.”
What did you say about coronavirus?
Due to the pandemic, the Case Western Reserve University debate had a small, socially distant audience and the traditional opening handshake was skipped.
Mr Biden has scrapped Trump’s leadership over the coronavirus pandemic that killed more than 200,000 Americans.
“He panicked or he looked at the stock market,” said the Democrat about the president, who wants states to reopen their economies.
“A lot of people died and a lot more will die unless he gets a lot smarter and faster,” said Biden.
Mr. Trump rejected Mr. Biden on the word “wise”.
“You have either the lowest or almost the lowest degree in your class,” said the president. “Never use the word wisely with me. Never use that word.”
Local regulations required everyone in the room to wear masks, but of the President’s family members present, only U.S. First Lady Melania Trump wore face-covering during the debate.
Members of the Trump family were shown wearing masks on arrival but removed them for debate
A food fight
In a debate that has been the political equivalent of a food fight, the winner is the man who showed up the least covered in slop.
On Tuesday night that man was Joe Biden – if only because his main goal was to prove to Americans that he could be under pressure, that he hadn’t lost a step because of his increasing age. He had to show that metaphorically he could put a cake in his face and stay cool.
He met that standard for the most part, although this was at least partly due to the fact that Donald Trump’s constant hectoring and interruptions seldom gave the former Vice President the opportunity to say anything really harmful to his own cause.
Twitter Trump – the bohemian, bombastic, insulting, and rumored aspect of this president – was fully visible for the hour and a half. Unfortunately for the president, many Americans, even his own supporters, find his social media personality to be one of his most unattractive qualities.
Trump needed this debate to stir up a race that is tilting against him – and that has been remarkably stable through economic, health, and social adversity.
Nothing about those hour and a half free for everyone seems to change the dynamics of this competition or change the mind of any one in ten American voters who say they are still undecided (though they may never make up their minds to watch) you another one).
Anything that resembled a substantive exchange was buried in a cavalry of bloviation and strife – and because of this, it was a missed opportunity for the president.
- Who won the Trump-Biden debate?
What other insults were exchanged?
When the two argued over health care, Republican Trump accused his rival of indebtedness to the socialists in his party, saying, “They are going to dominate you, Joe, you know that.”
“Right now, I’m the Democratic Party,” said Mr Biden.
Mr Biden continued, “Everyone knows they’re a liar.”
The president then defended his efforts to quickly occupy a seat in the US Supreme Court to secure a Conservative majority of 6 to 3 in the bench.
Mr Trump called on his rival to say if he would grab America’s Supreme Court and added more judges to improve his ideological balance, as some Democrats have called for.
The President also asked Mr Biden to publish a list of his own candidates for justice.
But Mr. Biden would not be drawn. “Are you going to shut up man?” snapped the Democrat.
At another point, Mr. Biden said, “It’s hard to say anything to that clown. Excuse this person.”
He also called the president “Putin’s puppy” in a reference to Russia’s president.
How did their families get into the debate?
The most violent clashes occurred while the candidates were raising their families.
Mr Biden referred to allegations made by anonymous sources that Mr Trump had once labeled members of the military as “losers,” a report rejected by the President and a number of his past and present advisors.
The Democrat spoke of his late son Beau, who served in Iraq.
“He wasn’t a loser, he was a patriot!” said Mr Biden angrily.
Mr Trump brought up the Democrat’s other son, “Really? Are you talking about Hunter?”
“I’m talking about my son Beau Biden!” said the Democrat.
“I don’t know Beau,” said Mr. Trump. “I know Hunter. Hunter was kicked out of the military. He was kicked out, dishonorably fired for cocaine use. And he didn’t have a job until you became Vice President.
“And when you became Vice President, he made a fortune in Ukraine, China, Moscow and various other places. He made a fortune and he didn’t have a job.”
Mr Biden called to Mr Trump and said, “My son, like many people, how many people you know at home, had a drug problem.
“He overhauled it. He fixed it. He worked on it. And I’m proud of him.”
Debate host and Fox News host Chris Wallace is fighting to keep the debate going
Why is the moderator criticized?
It was the second time Mr Wallace has moderated a presidential debate and he struggled at times to contain the arguing rivals.
At one point he asked the president to stop his interruptions.
The Fox News host said, “I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I appeal to you, sir, to do so.”
Mr. Trump replied, “Well, and so did he.”
Mr. Wallace said: “Well, frankly, you’ve interrupted more.”
Mr. Trump interjected: “But he does a lot.”