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President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sparred during the first presidential debate Tuesday – and the men did not mince words while facing off on several issues. Neither the president or former vice president were afraid to make personal jabs or call each other names as moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News dolled out questions on coronavirus, the economy and racial issues.
“Will you shut up, man?”
Biden became exasperated with Mr. Trump’s interrupting several times – and actually asked the president: “Will you shut up, man?” The comment came after Biden tried to answer a question about the Supreme Court and Mr. Trump talked over him.
Wallace also had to ask Mr. Trump to stop interrupting. “Mr. President, I am a moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer,” Wallace said.
A few minutes later, when Mr. Trump was again interrupting Biden as he tried to answer a question about health care, Wallace asked: “Mr. President, can you let him finish, sir?
“He doesn’t know how to do that. You would be surprised,” Biden quipped before answering Wallace’s question.
When both men began to interrupt each other, Wallace jumped in to say: “Gentlemen, I hate to raise my voice, but why shouldn’t I be different than the two of you?” He also told Mr. Trump: “Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting”
Biden calls Trump a “liar” and a “clown”
During Wallace’s questioning about health care, which the nominees continuously interrupted, Biden explained that he wanted to add a public option to expand the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Trump accused Biden of capitulating to Senator Bernie Sanders and the far left of the Democratic Party.
“The fact of the matter is, I beat Bernie Sanders,” Biden said. As Mr. Trump called Biden a “socialist,” Biden repeatedly criticized the president for not having a plan of his own for health care.
“Everybody knows he’s a liar,” Biden said about Mr. Trump, becoming visibly exasperated as the president interrupted him. “Folks, do you have any idea what this clown is talking about?”
“He has no plan for health care,” Biden said about the president. Although Mr. Trump supports repealing the ACA, his administration has not offered a detailed plan for how to replace it.
Trump mocks Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen”
While asking the nominees about the coronavirus pandemic, Wallace questioned why Mr. Trump is not frequently seen wearing a mask.
Masks are recommended by many health experts – including Mr. Trump’s CDC director, who said that wearing a mask could significantly help mitigate the spread of the virus.
“When needed, I wear masks,” Mr. Trump said, pulling out his own mask as proof. He also mocked Biden for wearing masks at every public appearance, saying that Biden “shows up with the biggest mask I’ve seen.”
The president also defended his large campaign rallies while mocking Biden’s, claiming that more people want to see him than his opponent. “People want to hear what I have to say,” Mr. Trump said of his rallies, where there is limited social distancing and wearing a mask is not enforced.
Trump disparages Biden’s sons
Biden argued Mr. Trump had weakened the country, calling him “Putin’s puppy,” and criticizing the president over reports that he has referred to military service members as “losers” and “suckers.”
Biden referenced his son, Beau, who served in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015,: “I don’t know Beau, I know Hunter.” Mr. Trump was referring to Biden’s other son, Hunter, whom the president has criticized for his ties to a Ukrainian gas firm.
Biden noted that his son Hunter had overcome an addiction problem, and said “I’m proud of my son.”
During the debate, Mr. Trump also went after Hunter Biden for sitting on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was in office. The president insisted Hunter Biden made millions of dollars, and claimed without evidence that he received money from the former mayor of Moscow.
Biden emphatically insisted his son did not receive millions of dollars from the former Moscow mayor. A lawyer for Hunter Biden has also denied the claim, saying the younger Biden was not involved in a partnership named as receiving $3.5 million in a recent Senate report.
Mr. Trump and his allies have long gone after Hunter Biden as a way to attack the former vice president. The president was impeached for pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s work in the country.
Biden again called Mr. Trump a name, saying: “It’s hard to get any word in with this clown.”
“His family we could talk about all night,” Biden said, pointing to the president’s children who work in the White House and on the president’s campaign.
Biden calls Trump “the worst president America has ever had”
When asked about a report in the New York Times which found that the president only paid $750 in income tax in 2017, the year he entered the White House, Mr. Trump responded by saying he paid millions of dollars in taxes and income taxes.
The president repeated that his tax returns were currently under audit, and said, “As soon as it’s finished, you’ll see it.” Mr. Trump has been saying that his tax returns are under audit by the IRS since the 2016 election, although being under audit doesn’t prohibit the release of tax returns.
Mr. Trump claimed that he had also taken advantage of tax policies established by the Trump administration. Biden criticized the tax overhaul passed in 2017, and said that Mr. Trump had not handled the economy well during his first term.
“You are the worst president America has ever had, come on,” Biden said.
This wasn’t the only strong jab Biden took at Mr. Trump during the debate. The former vice president also slammed Mr. Trump’s response to racial divisions in the country.
“This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” Biden said, adding that “this man has done virtually nothing” for Black Americans.
Kathryn Watson and Grace Segers contributed to this report.