Trump and Biden faced each other in Cleveland, Ohio. In a room with a limited number of attendees, the debate was led by Fox News journalist Chris Wallace. He had also chosen the themes.
In 15-minute blocks, various topics were discussed: the track record of both candidates, the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, the corona crisis, the economy, the sometimes violent protests against racism and police brutality, climate change and the reliability of the elections.
“How are you man?” Biden opened when he first hit his rival across the stage. After a polite greeting, the two got into each other’s hair. It was immediately noticeable that the two hardly let each other finish, even in speaking time that was only intended for one of the candidates. Trump, in particular, interrupted his challenger frequently.
The veteran Wallace sometimes seemed to know what to do with the disorder and had to intervene several times. “I don’t want to raise my voice, but if you do …” He was mainly addressing Trump. Biden, too, got so fed up with interrupting the president that he called him a “clown” and at one point let slip: “Please shut up for a moment.”
“Trump clearly intended to be the aggressor,” said correspondent Erik Mouthaan. “To come across as strong and interrupt his opponent. Biden had prepared for that, but sometimes struggled with the interruptions. The former vice president sometimes seemed confused.”
Biden attacked Trump over his approach to the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the US. “He says he didn’t want to panic, but he panicked himself,” said the Democrat. “If we had listened to you, millions would have been dead,” Trump replied, saying his administration had done “great”.
Personal attacks could be heard during the evening. “Don’t ever let me know you’re smart again,” Trump said. Biden: You are the worst president America has ever had. Mouthaan: “Biden had clearly made up his mind not to come across as a weak party. He kept shouting back to prevent the image of him letting Trump eat cheese off the bread.”
Trump’s tax returns were also discussed. According to the president, he would have paid ‘millions’ in tax in 2016 and 2017, not $ 750, as The New York Times recently revealed. “Then show your papers,” Biden said repeatedly.
In the block about the protests against racism and police violence and the riots that broke out in some places, Biden called the president a racist. “I support the police,” Trump said. “You can’t even pronounce the word law enforcement.”
Biden became emotional when he accused Trump of referring to dead soldiers as “losers” and “suckers,” as recently reported by The Atlantic magazine. For the first time he turned his gaze emphatically towards Trump.
Biden was referring to his son Beau, who died of cancer, who served as a soldier in Iraq. “He was not a loser but a patriot.” Trump immediately brought up Hunter Biden, the other son of his rival, who he said received millions of dollars from the Moscow mayor.
Reliability of elections
“If I win or lose, I will accept it,” Biden said at the end of the debate over the reliability of the election, which Trump consistently calls into question. Biden called on viewers to vote. The president again expressed his dislike of postal voting. “This is going to be fraud like you’ve never seen before.”
“The voter will not have become much wiser,” Mouthaan said of the debate. “Biden tried to explain some of his plans, Trump didn’t really. He was mainly attacking his opponent.”
“President Trump is behind in the polls, but made no effort to win over floating voters,” Mouthaan continues. He spoke mainly about points his supporters see on Fox News. He called diversity training ‘sick’. Biden did appeal to voters in the middle and promised he would be a moderate Democrat. The question is whether there is any. many are still floating voters. More than 80 percent of the voters say they are already completely sure of their choice. “
Trump and Biden will debate each other before the November 3 elections on October 15 and 22, in Miami and Nashville respectively. In between, on October 7, Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, are still debating in Salt Lake City.
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