In Cleveland, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met on the stage at Case Western Reserve University.
As Martha MacCallum, host of the Fox News show “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” said before the debate began, “Tonight is the night of one of the most anticipated presidential debates in history.”
Hosted by Fox News Channel and moderated by Chris Wallace, who at times struggled to reign in the candidate’s attacks against each other, the debate was divided into six segments, with the candidates beginning by providing a two-minute statement to a question before going to open discussion.
To start the night, Chris Wallace first asked about a highly anticipated subject, the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Both candidates agreed that elections have consequences but disagreed on what that currently means.
“I will tell you very simply, we won the election and elections have consequences,” Trump explained. “She’s going to be good as anyone on the court.”
Vice President Biden countered, “The American people have a right to have a say in the Supreme Court nominee, they’re not going to get a chance now since we are in the middle of an election. The thing that should happen is that we should wait.”
He also argued that if Trump’s nominee goes through then the Affordable Care Act will be dismantled, and abortion will be threatened.
Trump then started to attack Biden and argued that the Democrat Party wants to embrace socialist medicine and questioned Biden’s control over the party.
“Right now, I am the democratic party,” Biden responded.
At one point, after seemingly arguing with Wallace, Trump said, “Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you not him. That’s okay, I’m not surprised.”
The next topic of discussion was the coronavirus pandemic. Vice President Biden was the first to offer a response.
“The president has no plan,” Biden said. “He hasn’t laid out anything, he knew all the way back in February how serious that is.”
Trump argued that Biden and Obama bungled the response to H1N1.
Several times during the COVID-19 discussion, Biden tried to directly appeal to the nation multiple times. “He doesn’t have a plan. You got to provide these businesses with the money to reopen,” Biden said. “The Republicans won’t meet with the Democrats.”
“He wants to shut down this country, and I want to keep it open,” Trump said. “Now we found that elderly people with health problem and diabetes are very vulnerable. More people will be hurt by continuing (the shutdowns).”
The next segment focused on the economy, which has been a passionate topic for the president throughout his tenure.
“We built the greatest economy in history, and we closed it down for the Chinese plague,” Trump said. “We closed down and are now reopening and doing record business…He will shut it down again and destroy this country.”
Biden responded, “You folks at home and the working-class homes in America, how are you doing? You can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis.”
In a particularly contentious moment, Biden said, “You’re the worst president that America has ever had.” He later called Trump a “clown” and a “racist.”
Trump then challenged the Obama administration’s response to the 2008 recession and said that the response was slow, and then attacked Hunter Biden’s dealings in foreign countries.
The debate then moved on to the subject of race.
“This is the president that has used everything as a dog whistle to stoke racism,” Biden said. He then said that the Trump administration’s coronavirus response has negatively affected the African American community.”
Trump responded, “You have treated the African American population and the black community as bad as anyone in this country.” Then the president switched to talking about law enforcement, “If you say law enforcement, you will lose your radical Left supporters. We believe in law and order, you don’t.”
The subject then moved on to racial sensitivity training in the government, which Trump recently rescinded.
“Really, they were teaching people to hate this country and I’m not going to do that,” Trump said. “I’m not going to allow that to happen. We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, it’s a racist place and they were teaching people to hate our country. I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
“There is racial insensitivity, people have to be made aware of what is insulting to them. It makes a gigantic difference,” Biden responded.
The subject then moved onto law enforcement, where Trump passionately stated that Democrats are responsible for the problem within several large cities.
Biden responded, “What I support is the police having the opportunity to deal with the problems they face. And I’m not totally opposed to funding police officers, local police. They need more assistance—they need someone with them who is a psychologist.”
In response to the question about the slow response by Democrat mayors and governors to the protests and riots, Biden said, “I don’t hold public office now. I’ve made it clear in my public statements that the violence should be prosecuted…That’s why he keeps trying to rile everything up, he’s not trying to calm things down. He just pours gasoline on the fire.”
“Send in the National Guard and it would be over, no problem. But they don’t want to accept the National Guard,” Trump responded. “Antifa is a dangerous and radical group.”
In one of the concluding questions, Wallace asked each candidate to tell the American people why they should be elected based on their records.
Trump said, “There has never been an administration or president that has done more in three and a half years. Despite going through all of these things, there has never been an administration that’s done what I’ve done. We’ve rebuilt our military and taken care of our vets.”
“Under this president, we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent. When I was vice president, we inherited a recession, we left him a booming economy and he caused a recession,” Biden responded. “You’re in more trouble than you were before.”
Other topics discussed included the environment, concerns over mail-in ballots and if they will urge their supporters to remain calm.
Photo from MSNBC
Visit our Election 2020 page