President Donald Trump and Joe Biden clashed fiercely in what was dubbed as one of the most chaotic and bitter presidential debates in US history.
Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News struggled to defuse the 90 minutes of heated encounter between the Republican and Democratic rivals at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, and scolded Trump repeatedly for not following the debate rules.
In a war of words over the COVID pandemic, healthcare and the state of the U.S. economy, Trump frequently interrupted Biden, forcing the former Vice President to say “shut up.”
COVID was the longest segment of Tuesday night. The pandemic’s economic impact, vaccines, masks and handling of the crisis were all heatedly debated, which lasted 20 minutes.
Biden said Trump is going to be the first president of the United States to leave office, having fewer jobs in his administration than when he became president.
“You can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis. And he has no intention of doing anything about making it better for you all at home in terms of your health and your safety,” he added.
Trump retorted by saying he has done more things in 47 months than what Biden did in 47 years of his public life.
“Under this president, we become weaker, sicker, poor, more divided and more violent,” Biden said.
Trump targeted Biden’s son Hunter Bden’s foreign business dealings during the debate.
As Trump refused to categorically denounce white supremacists, far-right anti-immigrant group Proud Boys celebrated it on social media.
Calling Trump a “clown” and a “liar,” Biden said, “This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division.”
Trump defended his effort to appoint Justice Amy Barrett to ensure a 6-3 conservative majority on the US Supreme Court bench, saying, “We won the election and we have the right to do it.”
While the moderator asked Trump to clarify if he paid only $750 each in income taxes in 2016 and 2017 as reported by New York Times, Biden repeatedly asked the billionaire-turned politician to release his tax return.
Biden noted that Trump paid less in federal taxes than schoolteachers.
Ahead of the debate, Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris released their most recent tax records.
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