President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed in a contentious first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29. It was moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
The Republican incumbent and the Democratic candidate faced off over their approaches to health care, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus (commonly known as the novel coronavirus), and the economy, among other topics.
Trump said that picking a Supreme Court justice was the right thing to do, even in an election year, “because elections have consequences.”
“We won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her,” Trump said.
Biden said the nomination of the candidate to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should come after the election because “that is the only way the American people get to express their opinion.”
Biden, when asked about whether he supports adding more justices to the court and scrapping the filibuster, would not answer the question, saying “whatever position I take will become the issue.”
On the economy, Trump touted the faster-than-expected economic recovery and argued for reopening the country, saying: “People want their schools open. ... People want their places open.”
Biden said Trump’s push for reopening the economy is irresponsible because he hasn’t brought Republicans and Democrats together to provide funding for schools and businesses to pay for measures like masks and “sanitation.”
Trump said Biden would close down the economy again, and highlighted the negative consequences of such an action, including a rise in suicides and drug abuse. He focused on the administration’s plan to quickly develop a vaccine and bring the economy back.
On the vaccine, the two candidates disagreed over the speed at which it can be developed. Biden argued that while he trusts the scientists, he does not trust Trump. The president, meanwhile, said he has spoken with the heads of the companies developing the vaccines and is hopeful of a vaccine within weeks.
“We have the military all set up logistically,” Trump said about the distribution of a potential vaccine.
Biden accused Trump of hurting people’s health care, saying that he damaged Obamacare and that 10 million people lost the coverage they'd had through their employers as a result of the recession.
Trump responded by saying he had repealed the most unpopular part of Obamacare, the individual mandate, which required people to have health insurance or face a penalty.
“I want to give better health care at a much lower price,” Trump said.
Throughout the debate, including the discussion on health care, Biden frequently accused Trump of having “no plan,” and at one point said, “This man does not know what he is talking about.”
Trump, in turn, accused Biden of serving the interests of the radical left, saying: “Forty-seven years and you have not done anything.”
When asked about whether a report that Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax was accurate, he said he pays millions of dollars in taxes.
The debate became particularly testy when Trump brought up the foreign business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter.
Trump highlighted a finding in a recent Senate report that found that the wife of the former mayor of Moscow paid Biden’s son Hunter, $3.5 million.
“What did he do to deserve that,” Trump asked.
During the heated exchange, Biden denied that his son had done anything wrong, and at one point said “It’s hard to get any word in with this clown.”
Biden was asked why he didn’t ask the leaders of Portland and Oregon to invite the National Guard to deal with the over 100 days of protests that have often turned violent. He said he’s a private citizen, has called for prosecution of those conducting violence, and that local authorities can deal with the issue by itself.
As for his refusal to specifically denounce Antifa as the source of much of the violence, Biden said, “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.”