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2020 Presidential Debate #1

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

The 2020 election is something American society has been anticipating for years, from the popular 2016 statement “Kanye West 2020,” which referred to rapper Kanye West running for president in 2020, to the more serious moments leading up to the election, some being the impeachment trials of President Trump.

The presidential debates this year marked a turning point in American history.

The Republican party was represented by President Donald Trump, while the Democratic party was represented by former Vice President Joe Biden. The first presidential debate was watched by millions.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was the moderator for this fateful night.

On September 29th, 2020, the American public witnessed a clash like no other. The open discussion format of the debate allowed many interruptions to take place, particularly from Trump. Wallace and Biden made efforts to speak, but the president increased his volume.

At a certain point, Biden reached a breaking point and called Trump a “clown” and voiced his frustration by saying “will you just shut up man,” and “keep yapping, man.” This type of blatant disrespect is rare in most presidential debates.

Days later, Biden admitted he regretted calling Trump these names, saying "I should have said this is a clownish undertaking instead of calling him a clown.” He continued to say, “I’ll be very honest with you, I think it was embarrassing for the nation to see the president of the United States hectoring like he did and everything was about a personal attack."

His comment reflects the one he made to NBC during a live town hall, “If you notice, not one single time that I can recall did he offer a substantive answer or criticism related to a policy matter… all invective, it was all personal.”

During the debate, moderator Wallace interrupted Biden 15 times, whereas he interrupted Trump 76 times.

Key moments of the debate were when:

The heated discussion regarding Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and Trump’s response that Biden’s inauguration would lead to a full blue (Democratic) Supreme Court.

Moderator Chris Wallace lost control of the debate and yelled, “Gentlemen, gentlemen, stop!”

Biden told Trump to “show us [the public] your tax returns,” when Trump denied he paid $750 in federal income tax.

Biden said, “He doesn’t want to talk about what you need, you, the American people,” while looking at the camera.

Trump accused Hunter Biden, Biden’s son of inappropriately taking money from Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.

Trump accused Biden of supporting systemic racism because he advocated for a 1994 crime law that disproportionately affected African Americans, and Biden responded by calling Trump a “racist.”

President Trump told a white supremacist group to “stand back and stand down,” inciting an outpouring of outrage from users on social media platforms the following day.

The debate format will remain the same for the following presidential debates: divided into six 15-minute segments during which the moderators will pose their own questions to the candidates. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question and each other.

The next presidential debate, originally scheduled for October 7th, has been postponed to October 22 due to COVID concerns.

Written by: Neha Dubhashi


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