Donald Trump

Trump-Biden Debate by Topic: Supreme Court, COVID, More

Watch each segment of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden

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President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in the first presidential debate on Tuesday night in Cleveland. The debate was divided into a handful of sections, chosen by moderator Chris Wallace: The Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, race, electability, climate change and election integrity.

For each topic, the candidates each had two minutes to answer an introductory question, followed by open discussion.

Watch each section of the debate below:

The Supreme Court

President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden debate their stance on filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how it will effect the Affordable Care Art at the first Presidential Debate in Cleveland, Oh.

On the nomination process, Wallace pointed out the difference in their approaches to filling the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, and asked both candidates why their arguments are valid. Trump says he has a constitutional duty as president to fill the open position, while Biden says Trump's administration and Senate Republicans are trying to jam through a nominee before the election.

Trump said his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is valid because the White House and the Senate are under Republican control, and the elections that gave them control have consequences, adding that he nominated a competent nominee.

"I'm not elected for three years," Trump said.

Biden said the American people should have their say in this election, adding that while he has no issues with Barrett, the way Republicans are attempting to nominate is flawed.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic while Trump said it would have been worse with Biden as Commander in Chief.

The two men tangled over the coronavirus, with Biden emphasizing that the more than 200,000 American deaths represent 20 percent of the worldwide deaths, even though the U.S. only makes up 4 percent of the population.

He noted the times that Trump has said that the virus would disappear even as the pandemic continued and more Americans died.

Trump insisted as he has in the past that he has done a good job. 

"We're weeks away from a vaccine," he said. 

The Economy

President Donald Trump was asked if reporting by the New York Times that he only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 was true. Trump denied the reporting, saying he paid “millions” in federal income taxes.

Trump is asked about The New York Times story that reports, among other things, that Trump paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017.

"I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax," Trump said as Biden chimes in with "Show us your tax returns."

When Trump continued stating he paid millions in taxes in 2016 and 2017, Wallace asks Trump when he would provide proof. Trump said he would provide his returns "soon."

Biden said that Trump takes advantage of the tax system, adding that if elected he would eliminate the ability of the wealthy to get away with paying little in taxes.

The former vice president released his 2019 tax records just before Tuesday's debate.


President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden debate race issues in the United States and the role of law enforcement at the first Presidential Debate in Cleveland, Oh.

A question on race sends the debate into personal attacks again.

Biden said Trump had people tear-gassed so he could pose with a Bible. He said Trump uses "dog whistles" to try to generate hatred and division.

Trump hits Biden for his support for the 1994 Crime Bill during his time in the Senate. Critics say the tough-on-crime bill contributed to the mass incarceration of racial minorities in recent decades.

Biden has acknowledged Wednesday that questions raised about his support for the 1994 crime bill are "legitimate." But he insisted that people should judge him based on his current actions, not his past.

Biden agrees with the moderator's question that there is systemic injustice in this country. He says most law enforcement officers are good people "but there are some bad apples."

Trump, meanwhile, says he ended federal racial sensitivity training because it is "racist."

When asked by Wallace if he would condemn white supremacists, Trump said, "Stand back and stand by." Trump then turned the topic to Antifa.

"I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing," Trump said. 

Why Should Voters Elect You? Plus Climate Change

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debate their record, talk about how they have earned the votes of Americans in the 2020 election and spar on climate change.

Trump says no president has done more than he has done in his time as president, citing the pre-COVID economy.

"Now we’re building it back up again," he said.

Biden says: "Under this president we’ve become weaker."

Trump interrupts Biden repeatedly and Wallace has to step in to shut down Trump, saying Trump's campaign had agreed to the rules.

Biden also said Trump has made the country weaker regarding Russia.

"He’s Putin’s puppy," Biden said.

Wallace then asked what each candidate believes about the science and what each candidate will do in the next four years as president in regards to climate change.

"I want crystal clean water and air," Trump said. "I want beautiful, clean air ... we are doing phenomenally, but I haven't destroyed our businesses,. If you look at the Paris accord, it was a disaster from our standpoint."

Trump said he believes "to an extent" that humans contribute to climate change, but then criticized California for not doing a better job "cleaning up" their forests.

Biden said that under his administration, the United States would transition to renewable resources and establish an economy around it, creating jobs.

Biden said he would get back into the Paris climate change agreement.

Election Integrity

President Donald Trump continued to refuse to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election while Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden says he will.

During the final question, Wallace asked both candidates if they would accept the results of the election and urge their supporters to as well.

Trump wouldn't make such a commitment. Instead, he urged his supporters to go to polling places and "watch closely" for irregularities and said he couldn't tell them to stand down if they saw issues.

Biden answered with a succinct, "Yes."

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