The first debate on the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday evening was fiery from start to finish.
President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked each other in an extremely personal manner for more than 90 minutes as moderator Chris Wallace worked to get both candidates, Trump in particular, to abide by the rules of debate the candidates agreed to.
The conversation ranged from the coronavirus crisis to the vacancy of the Supreme Court to health care. However, it is not clear how much substance voters could get out of the debate, as it consisted largely of lines intended to appeal to partisans.
Here are the top five moments from the first presidential debate.
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During the first section on the Supreme Court vacancy, the discussion turned to health care and Trump began attacking Biden, saying that he was talking to the Bernie Sanders-supported segment of his party and its support for “Medicare-for-all” be accountable. “” In the first of many explosive attacks between the two, Biden replied, “I’m the Democratic Party right now. The Democratic Party platform is what I actually endorsed. “
It was one of the strongest statements from Biden, who so far distanced itself from the party’s furthest left wing. Trump would pursue this point throughout the debate.
On the subject of the Supreme Court in particular, Wallace asked Biden if he was ready to grab the Supreme Court and support the end of the filibuster in the Senate. Biden flatly refused to take a position on the matter.
2. Wallace reminds candidates who the moderator is
During the transition between the first part of the debate and the second part, Trump spoke about Wallace for a few seconds when the moderator tried to answer his question. Wallace finally raised his voice and said, “I’m the moderator for this debate,” before closing the question.
Trump and Biden were in constant conversation for much of the debate and at one point led Wallace to say, “Gentlemen, do you find that you are both speaking at the same time?”
Just a few minutes later, when Trump was responding during his two minutes of uninterrupted time, Biden tried to tune in and Wallace reminded Biden that it was Trump’s time. Wallace would continue to scold both candidates repeatedly.
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3. “I just lost my left”
Biden discussed his health plan and found that elementary school Democrats attacked him for not getting rid of private health insurance, as many of the candidates suggested. Trump interrupted, accusing Biden of agreeing to scrap private health care and set up Medicare-for-all, which Biden failed to do.
Biden warned Trump when Trump falsely accused him of taking care of health care and agreeing to a “manifesto” that he would mess with the “wrong thing, the wrong night at the wrong time”.
Trump responded to Biden, who openly opposed Medicare-for-all, “He just lost the left, you just lost the left.”
During a discussion on global warming later in the debate, Biden said that “the Green New Deal is not my plan” and that he supports “the Biden Plan,” which is different from other Green New Deal plans that are different from others Democratic presidential candidates were discussed.
4. Biden speaks personally to voters about coronavirus
One of Biden’s most effective moments of the debate came when the subject of the coronavirus pandemic turned and he went straight to the camera and voters at home as he set out why he is the best person to deal with the pandemic.
Referring to journalist Bob Woodward’s footage of Trump, he said earlier this year that he downplayed the coronavirus so as not to panic, telling Americans, “You don’t panic, he panicked.”
Trump on the matter warned that Biden wants to “close the country” and “destroy the country”.
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5. Collide via masks and shutdowns
While the coronavirus conversation continued, Wallace asked Trump why he continued to hold large rallies with no social distancing and sparse mask use, which is clearly against his own administration’s guidelines. Trump defended himself by stating that the rallies are taking place outside in airports and that “people want to hear what I have to say”.
Biden responded by telling voters, “He’s not worried about you,” and slammed Trump to run his rallies.
“He’s been completely irresponsible in the way he handled social distancing and people who wear masks basically encouraged him not to,” Biden said. “Okay, he’s an idiot.”
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Trump responded by reiterating that Biden would shut down the country and that the shutdowns are “hurting” people both financially and mentally.
Biden said in his response that the recovery from the coronavirus crisis may look good on the stock market and for millionaires and billionaires, but that the situation is not getting much better for the average person. And Biden said closing the country would help the economy in the long run.
“You can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis,” Biden said. “He should get to work looking after the needs of the American people.