It was one of the most highly anticipated events of the campaign as President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off in their first debate. For more than 90 minutes, Trump and Biden went back and forth on the coronavirus, economy, Supreme Court, and taxes.
But it did not take long for things to get tense.
“47 years, you’ve done nothing,” Trump said.
“Will he just shush for a minute?” Biden asked.
There were angry interruptions by both candidates.
Moderator Chris Wallace said to President Trump, “Let him finish, sir.”
“He doesn’t know how to do that,” Biden said.
At one point, Biden snapped, “Will You Shut Up Man!”
And bitter accusations.
“The fact is that everything he’s saying here is a lie,” Trump said.
“It’s hard to get any word in with this clown,” Biden replied.
The first debate between Trump and Biden erupted in a fight over the nation’s response to COVID-19.
“He wants to shut down this country and I want to keep it open,” Trump noted.
“Let me shut you down for one second. He wants to shut down the country,” Biden replied.
The two are clearly at odds when it comes to plans for reopening the country.
Biden said it’s wrong for Trump to hold large campaign rallies during the pandemic.
“Holding much smaller events,” Biden said.
“Because nobody will show up,” Trump replied as Wallace laughed.
“Why the large rallies? People want to hear what I have to say,” Trump explained, pointing out his rallies have all been outdoors.
At one point, as Trump talked about Democrats being far left, Biden tried to distance himself.
“I am the Democratic Party right now. The platform of the Democratic Party is what I approve of,” he said.
“You just lost the left,” Trump responded.
Biden said he doesn’t approve of the Green New Deal even though his vice presidential pick is a co-sponsor.
“No, I don’t support the Green New Deal. Oh, that’s a statement. I support the Biden plan,” he argued.
Trump also called out Biden for not saying “law enforcement.”
“The people of this country want and demand law and order and you are afraid to say it,” the President told Biden.
Wallace asked Biden a direct question about trying to stop the violence.
“The question I have, though, is as the Democratic nominee and early tonight you said you are the Democratic Party right now. Have you ever called the Democratic mayor of Portland or the Democratic Governor of Oregon and said, “Hey you’ve got to stop this. Bring in the National Guard, do whatever it takes but stop the days and months of violence in Portland?”
“I don’t hold public office now,” Biden replied. “I am a former vice president. I’ve made it clear. I’ve made it clear in my public statements that the violence should be prosecuted.”
On the battle over whether or not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump defended his nomination of a new justice right before the November election.
“We won the (2016) election and therefore we have the right to choose her,” he said.
“We should wait, see what the outcome of this election is,” Biden responded.
Biden is concerned Amy Coney Barrett could end abortion. “The president is also opposed to Roe v. Wade, so that is also at stake now,” he said.
“You don’t know what’s on the ballot. It’s not on the ballot, on the ballot in the court. Nothing happening there and you don’t know her view on Roe. v. Wade,” Trump replied.
What’s also still not known by voters is how much Trump paid in federal taxes which he says are “under audit.”
The New York Times reports Trump paid just $750 dollars in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.
“Show us your tax returns,” Biden demanded.
“I paid $38 million one year. I paid $27 million one year,” Trump said.
“Show us your tax returns,” Biden continued. “You are the worst president America has ever had.”
“I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years,” Trump responded.
Biden said he’ll accept the outcome of the election once all the ballots are counted and accused Trump of trying to scare people when it comes to voting by mail.
“Did you see what’s going on? West Virginia, mailmen seeking the ballots. They are being sold. They are being dumped in rivers. This is a horrible thing for our country,” Trump answered.
“There is no evidence of that,” Biden said.
“This is not going to end well,” Trump replied.
Tuesday night was round one of three. The next debate is Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida.
It’s unclear how much these debates will sway voters as at least one million ballots have already been cast.