• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Trump-Biden Chaotic First Debate Descends Into Bickering

Trump floats a ‘delay’ in the election

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden hurled insults and repeatedly interrupted each other in their first debate, sparring over topics ranging from health care to the economy and their families as moderator Chris Wallace tried mostly in vain to control the conversation.

Biden repeatedly called Trump a “clown” and told him to “shut up” as Trump talked over his answers. He called the president a “racist” after Trump defended his orders to end racial sensitivity training in the government.

Trump insulted Biden’s intelligence and jabbed the former vice president over unsubstantiated allegations about his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.

Biden called Trump “the worst president America’s ever had” and said that under his leadership “we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided, more violent.”

The back-and-forth quickly degenerated after Trump answered the first question, about his nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump said he had the right to move swiftly to replace her, while Biden said U.S. voters should weigh in first.

We won the election,” Trump said in answer to the first question, about his nominee Amy Coney Barrett. “Elections have consequences. We have the Senate, we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee.”

Biden said that Trump and Barrett want to strike down the Affordable Care Act, costing 20 million people their health insurance.

“The American people have a right to have a say over who the Supreme Court nominee is,” Biden said. “What’s at stake here, as the president’s made it clear, he wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. He’s in the Supreme Court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which will strip 20 million people from having health insurance now, if it goes to the Supreme Court.”

Wallace tried to intervene as the two candidates squabbled over their respective health policies, and Trump complained: “I guess I’m debating you.”

“Folks, do you have any idea what this clown is trying to do?” Biden, who frequently spoke directly to the camera, said as Trump talked over him. “Will you shut up, man,” he grumbled moments later.

With five weeks left until Election Day, the Democrat’s campaign has approached the debate as a high-stakes moment when he could cement his advantage or see it begin to erode.

For Trump, the debate was a critical opportunity to try to regain momentum after months of declining poll numbers