Donald Trump and Joe Biden shouted over each other and insulted each other as moderator Chris Wallace lost control of the ‘dumpster fire’ that was the first Presidential debate on Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.
Barely had the night begun when the two candidates began name calling and fighting, with Biden asking Trump to shut up and slapping him down as the president repeatedly interrupted his answers.
‘Would you shut up, man?,’ a visibly exasperated Biden said about 20 minutes into the debate after Trump interrupted him again as he tried to talk about the Supreme Court.
And, about 15 minutes later during a discussion on the COVID pandemic, he told Trump again: ‘Would you just shush for a minute?’
The president tried to command the stage from out of the box, interrupting his rival repeatedly to make his point, counter Biden and push himself into the conversation.
It happened so many times that Fox News’ moderator Chris Wallace stepped in, asking the president to let Biden finish his answer and chided him: ‘I’m the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer.’
‘Go ahead then,’ Trump said, later adding to Wallace: ‘I guess I’m debating you, not him. No surprise.’
The 90-minute showdown between the presidential contenders proved early on that it would a be a knock-out, drag-down match, as they squared off over the Supreme Court, handling of the coronavirus pandemic, mail-in ballots, Trump’s taxes, Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘You’ll get to see it.’ Trump shrugs off controversy over his taxes, saying he paid ‘millions’ as Biden says President ‘pays less tax than a schoolteacher’
‘I paid $38 million one year, I paid $27 million one year. I went –’ the president said, but was interrupted by Biden.
‘Show us your tax returns,’ the former vice president insisted.
‘You’ll see it as soon as it’s finished. You’ll see it,’ Trump said.
‘Oh,’ Biden sarcastically conceded. Biden said Trump ‘takes advantage of the tax code’ and ‘pays less tax than a schoolteacher.’
Trump shrugged off the attack, saying that all business leaders do the same ‘unless they are stupid.’
Just hours before taking the stage in the battleground rust belt state Tuesday, Biden and his vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris released their tax returns.
‘Stand back and standby.’ Trump’s response when asked to condemn white supremacists and militia groups
Trump skirted a question from Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.
‘I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,’ Trump responded. ‘I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.’
When pressed further, Trump said: ‘What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name?’
Finally, he said: ‘Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem….. This is a left wing problem.’
Antifa followers have appeared at anti-racism protests, but there’s been little evidence behind Republican claims that Antifa members are to blame for the violence at such protests.
Trump infamously said there were good people ‘on both sides’ after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of a counter-protester.
Biden calls Trump a ‘racist’ when the two men debated race relations
Trump was defending his decision to end racial sensitivity training for federal workers when his Democratic rival hit him with the ‘racist’ label.
The president said the training was resulting in ‘very sick ideas’ and teaching people ‘to hate our country.’
‘If you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and frankly, very sick ideas. It really, they were teaching people to hate our country. And I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to allow that to happen. We have to go back to the core values of this country,’ Trump said.
‘Nobody is doing that. He’s racist,’ Biden said.
He defended the training programs.
‘The fact is there is racial insensitivity. People have to be made aware of what other people feel like. What insults them, what is it demeaning to them. It’s important to people. Now, many people don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, but it makes a big difference,’ he said.
And then he pivoted it to emphasize his blue-collar roots and hinted Trump is a snob.
Biden said: ‘It makes a gigantic difference in the way a child is able to grow up and have a sense of self-esteem. It’s a little bit like how this guy and his friends look down on so many people and look down their nose on people like Irish Catholics like me who grew up in Scranton.
‘They looked down on people who don’t have money, they looked down on people who are of a different faith.’
Race relations, like other debate topics, resulted in a furious back-and-forth, shouting over each other’s conversation between the presidential contenders.
As the two men bickered on race, Biden invoked the death of George Floyd, the African American man killed by a white police officer in Minnesota and the Black Lives Matter protests that sprung up in the wake. Trump invoked his ‘law and order’ presidency.
The president has accused Biden on multiple occasions of wanting to defund the police, which Biden has said he would not do.
During the debate, the Democratic nominee said most police officers are ‘good’ but the bad ones need to be rooted out.
‘The vast majority of police officers are good, they risk their lives every day to take care of us, but there are some bad apples and when they occur, when they find them they have to be sorted out,’ Biden said.
‘Cops aren’t happy to see what happened to George Floyd. These cops aren’t happy to see what happened to Breonna Taylor. Most don’t like it, but we have to have a system where people are held accountable. And by the way, violence and response is never appropriate. Never appropriate. Peaceful protest is. Violence is never appropriate,’ he said of protests.
Trump hit back: ‘What is peaceful protest? When they run through the middle of the town and burn down stores and kill people all over the place? That is not peaceful protest.’
The president also has complained Biden hasn’t said he’s for ‘law and order,’ a phrase Trump has used to define his presidency.
‘They don’t want to talk about law and order. Are you in favor of law and order?,’ he asked Biden.
‘I’m in favor of law,’ Biden said.
But he attacked Trump’s approach of handling racial unrest across America.
‘The point is that is why he keeps trying to rile everything up. He doesn’t want to calm things down. Instead of going in and talking to people and saying let’s get everybody together, figure out how to deal with this, what does he do? He just throws gasoline on the fire constantly. Every single solitary time,’ he said.
‘It is what it is’ Biden blasts Trump over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic
Trump and Biden fought over the coronavirus crisis by accusing each other of killing more people had the other been in office.
‘He panicked or he just looked at the stock market, one of the two, because 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 said onstage.
At another point Trump shouted it would have been Biden who’d have killed more – calling his response to swine flu pandemic in 2009 a ‘disaster.’
Biden, who was serving as vice president at the time, hit back that 14,000 died not 200,000. ‘We didn’t shut down the economy. This is his economy that he shut down,’ Biden added.
‘If we would’ve listened to you, the country would’ve been left wide open, millions of people would’ve died. Not 200,000. And one person is too much. It’s China’s fault. It should’ve never happened,’ the president said.
Biden shot back that the president ‘waited and waited’ to act when the virus reached America’s shores and ‘still doesn’t have a plan.’
Biden told Trump to ‘get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap’ and go in his golf cart to the Oval Office to come up with a bipartisan plan to save people.
‘You’re the worst president America has ever had,’ Biden said.
Trump snarled a response, declaring that ‘I’ll tell you Joe, you could never have done the job that we did. You don’t have it in your blood.’
‘I know how to do the job,’ was the solemn response from Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president.
Biden whacked Trump for coddling China in the early weeks of the pandemic, saying that the president didn’t push hard enough to letter American health experts in.
‘He did not even ask Xi to do that. He told us what a great job Xi was doing, he told us we owe him a debt of gratitude for being so transparent with us,’ Biden said.
The ex-veep mocked Trump for saying the coronavirus would disappear ‘like a miracle.’
‘And maybe you can inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it,’ Biden also offered.
‘That was said sarcastically,’ Trump shot back.
While discussing the importance of masks to protect against the virus, Trump defended himself for not wearing one all the time, before poking fun at Biden for wearing ‘the biggest mask he’s ever seen’.
Biden also pointed out Trump retorted ‘it is what it is’, as more than 200,000 Americans have died from the deadly virus.