Takeaways from first US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, are meeting in Cleveland on Tuesday for the first of three debates ahead of the November 3 election, when Trump is seeking a second term in office.

Here are takeaways from the matchup:


Trump is used to sparring with reporters, and he kicked off Tuesday’s debate by using the same tactic he uses in the White House briefing room: interrupting.

Trump repeatedly interrupted or sought to talk over Biden and the debate’s moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, during a discussion about the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act.

At times the debate split-screen showed the two candidates trying to talk over one another while Wallace spoke at the same time, pleading for clarity.

“Please let the vice president talk,” Wallace admonished Trump during one of his interruptions after earlier making clear that he was the moderator. “Will you shut up, man?” Biden eventually said to Trump.

Democrat Joe Biden sharply attacked Republican President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during a fiery first debate on Tuesday, saying Trump had “panicked” and failed to protect Americans while Trump defended his approach.

In a chaotic first debate marked by repeated interruptions by Trump, Biden said the president was more concerned with the economy and stock market than he was with blunting the spread of the coronavirus.

“He panicked or he looked at the stock market,” Biden said of Trump, who has pushed for states to reopen their economies and played down the threat of the pandemic.

“You’re the worst president America has ever had,” Biden said, urging him to get off the golf course and get to work.

Trump defended his approach on the pandemic, which has killed more than 200 000 people in the United States and put millions of Americans out of work.

“We’ve done a great job,” Trump said. “But I tell you, Joe,you could never have done the job we’ve done. You don’t have it in your blood.”