Drama, Angry Interruptions and Bitter Accusations: Gist of the First Presidential Debate

Ahead of the US presidential election on 3 November, Republican candidate and incumbent President Donald Trump went one-on-one with Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden at 6.30 am Indian Standard Time.

2020 Debate

As per the format, the entire debate was divided into six segments. Each segment of around 15 minutes. The moderator introduced a topic and gave each candidate two minutes. This was followed by a discussion between the candidates, with the two getting an equal time limit.

Labelled as the “Super Bowl of American Democracy”, Donald Trump and Joe Biden answered questions based on their track record, the Supreme Court, economy, race and violence in cities and veracity of the elections. Both the leaders arrived in Cleveland for the first debate, expecting to increase their bases of support before the election. They were also contending to persuade the remaining portion of undecided voters.

President Donald Trump said he’s had “no negative effect” from massive campaign rallies with thousands of attendees not following social distancing sanctions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He also added during Tuesday night’s debate against Democrat Joe Biden, that he thought masks “are OK,” pulling one out from his pocket and saying, “I wear masks when needed.”

The only citation of India during the debate came when Trump was talking about the Covid-19 situation in the US, and alleged that some countries did not disclose the real number of deaths due to the virus. “India, Russia and China don’t give out their real Covid-19 deaths…” he said.

Accusations and Allegations

“The fact is that everything he’s (Trump) said so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”

The two fought over who would manage issues of race, capping in Biden calling Trump a racist. It was the unruliest presidential debate in recent years, somehow relevant for an extraordinarily ugly campaign, the two men constantly talked over each other with Trump interrupting Biden as well as Moderator Wallace, nearly shouting, every so often, while Wallace told Trump to wait for his turn, Biden at one point snapped: “Will you shut up, man?”

The first presidential debate concluded with Chris Wallace asking both candidates if they would oblige to imploring calm and eluding declaring victory until the election results are independently corroborated.

Biden has been ahead of Trump in most national polls since the beginning of the year, and is presently steering ahead in major battleground states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where the Republicans came out victorious in 2016.

The second debate is set to occur on 15 October. The debate will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. Steve Scully, the political editor at C-SPAN, will be the moderator of the debate.

The third and final debate will occur on 22 October at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In this debate, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will be the moderator.

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