With time running out to change minds or influence the small sliver of undecided voters, the stakes were enormous as the candidates took the stage
Tuesday’s U.S. presidential debate starts Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT. You can watch it live in the video above.
CLEVELAND — Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden battled fiercely over Trump’s leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and the integrity of November’s election in a chaotic first debate on Tuesday marked by personal insults, name calling and Trump’s repeated interruptions.
Moderator Chris Wallace never established control of the debate. The two White House contenders talked over each other and lobbed insults in a breathtaking political brawl that made it hard for either to make a point.
“Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential,” said an exasperated Biden after Trump’s repeated interruptions during the first segment of the debate on the Supreme Court.
Biden later called Trump a “clown,” a “racist,” and “Putin’s puppy” in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and told Trump: “You’re the worst president America has ever had.”
Wallace said: “I think that the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m appealing to you sir to do that.”
Biden, 77, has held a consistent lead over Trump, 74, in national opinion polls, although surveys in the battleground states that will decide the election show a closer contest. It was hard to determine whether the debate would move the needle.
Biden questioned Trump’s leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, saying Trump had panicked and failed to protect Americans because he was more concerned about the economy.
“He panicked or he looked at the stock market,” Biden said of Trump, who has pushed for states to reopen their economies and played down the threat of the pandemic.
“A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker,” Biden said.
“You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word smart with me. Don’t ever use that word,” Trump said.
“But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we’ve done. You don’t have it in your blood,” he said.
With more than a million Americans already casting early ballots and time running out to change minds or influence the small sliver of undecided voters, the stakes were enormous as the two White House candidates took the stage five weeks before the Nov. 3 Election Day.
The two contenders did not shake hands as they entered the debate, adhering to protocols on social distancing because of the coronavirus.
Trump, who has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, repeated his allegations that mail-in voting would lead to fraud, although experts have argued that, historically, fraud has been extremely rare in U.S. elections.
Trump said he expected the Supreme Court might have to decide the election and “look at the ballots.” He urged his supporters to go and watch the balloting.
“If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that,” he said, adding “They cheat.”
Biden urged Americans to make a plan to vote and assured voters that Trump would be gone if Biden wins. He said he would not declare victory until the outcome was validated.
“If we get the votes, it’s going to be all over. He’s going to go,” he said, adding Trump’s complaints about mail-in ballots was that Trump was “afraid” to count the votes.
Trump defended his effort to swiftly fill a U.S. Supreme Court seat, saying “elections have consequences” and he had the right despite Democratic objections.
“I will tell you very simply we won the election, elections have consequences. We have the Senate and we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all,” Trump said in defense of his nominee, conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Biden said the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be filled after the election, when it was clear who the president would be.
“We should wait, we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is,” Biden said, adding a more conservative Supreme Court would endanger the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
Trump is moving quickly to fill Ginsburg’s seat in hopes of cementing a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, a key priority for social conservatives.
Democrats have argued Republicans are being hypocritical for moving quickly to fill the seat given they had blocked then-President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016, arguing it should wait until after that November election.
Hours before the debate, Biden released his 2019 tax returns and his campaign called on Trump, who has come under fire for not releasing his returns, to do the same.
Biden took the step two days after the New York Times reported Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 – and none in 10 of the previous 15 years – following years of reporting steep losses from business enterprises.
Biden’s taxes showed that he and his wife Jill paid more than $346,000 in federal taxes and other payments for 2019 on an income of nearly $985,000 before seeking a refund of nearly $47,000 they said they had overpaid the government.
“I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax,” Trump said when asked about the New York Times report.
Quotes from the first U.S. 2020 presidential debate between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden:
Trump, asked about whether Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be nominated to the Supreme Court before the election: “We won the election. Elections have consequences.
“We have the Senate and we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all.
.”.. I think that she (Barrett) will be outstanding. She will be as good as anybody who has ever served on that court. We won the election and therefore we had the right to choose her.”
Biden: “We should wait, we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is.” Pivoting to the Affordable Care Act, Biden said: “I’m not opposed to the justice. She seems like a very fine person. But she’s written … that she thinks the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The president’s made it clear he wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. He’s been running on that.”
Trump interjected: “As far as a say is concerned, the American people have already had their say. … I’m not elected for 3-1/2 years.”
Biden, told by Trump that he had adopted former Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders’ “socialized medicine” proposals: “Everybody here knows he’s a liar. … You picked the wrong guy on the wrong night at the wrong time.”
.”.. Folks, do you have any idea what this clown’s doing? I tell you what, he is not for anybody needing healthcare.”
After Trump explained his health proposal, Biden said: “He has no plan for healthcare. … The fact is this man has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Biden to Trump: “You should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap and … the golf course and go in the Oval Office and (put) together Democrats and Republicans, and fund what needs to be done now to save lives.”
Trump to Biden: “You didn’t think we should’ve closed our country (to China) because you thought it was terrible.”
.”.. We’ve done a great job. But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we’ve done. You don’t have it in your blood.”
Trump on Biden’s proposed approach to developing coronavirus vaccines: “People like this would rather make it political than save lives.”
Biden: “Guess what, a lot of people died, and a lot more (are) going to die unless he gets a lot smarter a lot quicker.”
Biden, speaking of Trump: “This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division.”
Trump to Biden, citing Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill: “You’ve treated the Black community about as bad as anybody in this country.”
Biden: “Yes, there’s a systemic injustice in this country in education and work and in law enforcement, and the way in which it is enforced.”
Trump: “The top 10 cities and just about the top 40 cities are run by Democrats in many cases, radical left, and they’ve got you wrapped around their finger, Joe, to a point where you don’t want to say anything about law and order. And I’ll tell you what the people of this country want and demand law and order, and you’re afraid to even say it.”
Biden said Trump had done nothing to calm down the protests. “He just pours gasoline on the fire.”
Responding to Trump attacking him on the suburbs, Biden said: “He wouldn’t know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn. I know suburbs.”
Trump to Biden: “Name one law enforcement group that has come out and supported you. One. Think. We have time.”
At one point, while being interrupted by Trump, Biden said: “Will you shut up, man. This is so unpresidential. … Keep yapping, man.”
Wallace to Trump: “I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m appealing to you sir to do that.”
Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
A welcome email is on its way. If you don’t see it please check your junk folder.
Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.
© 2020 National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited.
Presidential debate 2020 live stream
Actu monde – CA – ‘You’re the worst president America has ever had’: Donald Trump and Joe Biden clash in chaotic debate