By Lorena Grajales, News Editor-
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President, Joe Biden faced off in the first 2020 Presidential Debate, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Both candidates had ninety minutes to answer questions regarding the Supreme Court, healthcare, Covid-19, the economy, each of their records, race and violence in cities and the integrity of the upcoming election.
The debate began as journalist and moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump to explain his reasons for nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to fill the seat of the late Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and where he thought she would take the court.
Trump argued he was elected for a complete four years and therefore had the right to select the person and timing. Biden opposed this by stating American citizens should have the right to choose the next supreme court nominee.
Following this was the topic of healthcare, as Trump stated he would cut drug prices 80-90% and replace Obamacare with a cheaper and better plan. Biden responded by claiming Trump has been making these promises since he was elected to office but has not accomplished a stable plan.
Biden also rested the blame of the 10 million people who have lost their healthcare benefits due to the recession, on Trump. He continued with his plan of supporting Obamacare and Medicaid, which would provide help to people with limited income.
The discussion was led by continual interruptions from the president, to which Biden then personally attacked, calling him a clown, unpresidential and a liar.
“The fact is everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies, everybody knows he’s lying…”
When asked why the American people should trust him to have control over Covid-19, Biden quickly blamed Trump for the seven million affected and the deaths of over 200,000 people in the U.S. He also brought up the recorded tapes of Trump acknowledging the “deadly” nature of the virus, while being interviewed by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in the beginning of the year.
Biden continued by stating scientists should be trusted regarding the virus, but not those who work for Trump. The president came to his own defense and said his administration provided essential gear such as masks, ventilators and funds to save lives.
According to Trump, the country is only weeks away from a vaccine against Coronavirus, which he called the “China plague.” He also stated this was a job that Biden, “could have never done” like him. He then brought up Biden’s response to the swine flu in 2009, and later made personal attacks against the vice president.
“There’s nothing smart about you, Joe. 47 years and you’ve done nothing,” he said.
With the topic of re-opening of businesses and schools across the country, Biden stated he was reluctant because they must be provided first with funds and sanitation to open safely.
In contrast, Trump said more people would be hurt by shutting the government down. The president also criticized Biden’s constant use of mask-wearing, while Biden claimed masks make a big difference in saving lives.
Moving forward, Wallace brought up the economy, which Trump claimed is in recovery while conducting record business and expressed his desire for states to open.
“It’s not fair, almost like being in prison,” he said.
To add input, Biden shared how millionaires and billionaires have done well because of their sole focus on the market and said that Trump cannot fix the economy until he can fix the Covid crisis.
Trump’s tax returns were brought up for discussion as Wallace asked if The New York Times’ reports that showed he paid nothing to $750 in the last decade are true or false.
Trump quickly stated he paid millions of dollars in taxes, to which Biden requested for him to show the country his tax returns. The discussion escalated as Biden said he would eliminate tax codes, increase taxes on individuals and corporations earning over four-hundred thousand dollars and invest in people that need the help.
The personal attacks continued as he described Trump as, “the worst president America has ever had.”
To address race and violence in the country, Biden shared he believes systemic injustice is an issue in the country and stressed that the few, “bad apples” in police departments need to be held accountable. Biden also shared his support for peaceful protests, and re-imagining policing.
“I am opposed to defunding police officers…they need more assistance.” Biden said. “I’ve made it clear that violence should be prosecuted…we can take this on and we can defeat racism.”
He also mentioned Trump’s actions have been a “disaster” for the African American community. In rebuttal, Trump said Biden has treated the black community, “as bad as anybody in the country.”
When asked why he decided to end racial sensitivity training, and if he believes systemic racism exists in the country, Trump said he put an end to it because it was a “radical revolution,” which he believed was racist. Wallace then asked President Trump if he was willing to condemn white supremacist and militia groups, to which Trump responded:
“Sure, I am willing to do that. But I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing…Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about ‘Antifa’ and the left…”
Changing to the topic of each of their records, Trump claimed the country has never had a president or administration do more than he has in the last three and a half years, with improved healthcare and re-building of the military. Biden denounced these claims by stating under Trump, the country is “weaker, poorer, violent, broken and divided.”
Discussing climate change and forest fires in the west that have displaced thousands of people, Trump stated the reason for this is due to lack of good forest management. He also brought up his billion tree-planting project, to improve quality of air.
“I believe that we have to do everything we can to have immaculate air,” he said.
Biden’s take on climate change focused on creating 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles, renewable energy, building 1.5 million energy-efficient homes, provide buildings to be weatherized which will emit less gas and oil, while creating an economy that allows for millions of new jobs. Biden clarified he wants to make sure the environment is clean but does not support the “Green New Deal.”
The last topic covered was the integrity of the election, and how American citizens could be assured that it will be fair. Trump voiced his concern regarding mail-in voting and claimed thousand of ballots are being manipulated by being sold, dumped in rivers and being disposed of in wastepaper baskets.
“…this is going to be fraud like you’ve never seen.”
Biden pledged to tell voters to stay calm and not declare victory until all the votes are counted and the results are certified. He also encouraged people to vote whether it was by mail or in-person at polling locations on Nov. 3.
“Vote, vote, vote. You have it in your control to determine what this country will look like in the next four years,” Biden said. “If I win, that will be accepted, if I lose that will be accepted.”
Biden concluded the debate with speaking directly to the American people and vowed to be representative of both political parties.
“I will be a president for democrats and republicans,” said Biden.
The upcoming debate will take place at the University of Utah, between current Vice President, Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Oct. 7.