Trump-Biden, round one: taxes, protests, and lots of insults

Agence France-Presse . Cleveland | Published: 21:44, Sep 30,2020


It was messy and there was a lot of shouting, but President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden on Tuesday managed during their 90-minute debate to touch on some of the crucial issues facing American voters in November.

The following is a look at the key moments of the debate — the substance, the zingers and the insults:

Sharp tongues

Political observers expected the Republican incumbent to come out swinging, but it was the 77-year-old former vice president who ended up landing some of the toughest insults of the night, calling Trump a ‘clown’ and a ‘liar.’

‘Everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies,’ Biden roared at one point.

At another moment, amid constant interruptions by the president, which angered even moderator Chris Wallace, Biden retorted: ‘It’s hard to get any word in with this clown. Excuse me, this person.’

And he said ‘Will you shut up, man?’ — which immediately was marketed by the Biden campaign on tee-shirts.

What about those taxes?

When Wallace asked Trump to directly say whether he had paid more than $750 in income tax in those years, not in any other taxes, he at first deflected and when pressed, said he had paid ‘millions of dollars.’

‘Show us your tax returns,’ said Biden, who released his own 2019 return before the debate in Cleveland, showing he and his wife had paid nearly $300,000.

Dragging the kids into it

‘China ate your lunch, Joe. And no wonder, your son goes in, and he takes out billions of dollars,’ Trump said.

Biden turned the tables, suggesting he could ‘talk all night’ about Trump’s family and ‘ethics.’ Trump’s daughter Ivanka works as a senior advisor to her father, and her husband Jared Kushner is a high-profile White House aide.

White supremacy

Wallace asked both candidates to comment on the race tensions that have convulsed America in recent months, following a series of deaths of African Americans at the hands of police.

When the moderator asked Trump if he would condemn ‘white supremacists’ and ask them to stand down, Trump said he was ‘willing to do that.’

Accepting the election result

As the raucous debate wound to a close, Wallace asked both men if they would pledge to honor the election results. Trump has recently failed to explicitly guarantee a peaceful transfer of power, should he lose on November 3.

‘We might not know for months,’ Trump said, adding later: ‘This is not going to end well.’

Biden pledged to respect the results ‘after all the ballots are counted.’

‘That will be the end of it. And if it’s me, fine. If it’s not me, I will support the outcome,’ he said.

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