Trump, Biden face off in first US presidential debate of 2020
Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will square off on Tuesday in the first of three scheduled debates, an encounter that will showcase a stark clash of styles and the prospect of a contentious and personal grudge match. Follow the debate on FRANCE 24’s live blog.
- Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the 90-minute showdown will have a limited – and socially distanced – in-person audience at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The two candidates will also forego the traditional handshake before the debate’s start at 9pm EDT (1am GMT).
- President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will have two other chances to try to convince undecided voters before the November 3 election: a second debate on October 15 in Miami, Florida, and a final face-off set for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News said the debate would be divided into six segments: a review of Trump and Biden’s past records, the US Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, US election integrity, and “race and violence” in US cities. The inclusion of “violence” as a debate topic has been criticised for playing into Trump’s chosen election narrative of “law and order” versus chaos and unrest.
- Trump is likely to be attacked over his taxes after the New York Times revealed that he paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017 and none at all in 10 of the previous 15 years. Trump had long sought to keep his personal financial records secret.
- Biden released his 2019 tax returns just hours before the start of the debate, and his campaign called on Trump, who has come under fire for not releasing his returns, to do likewise. Biden’s taxes reveal that he and his wife, Jill, paid more than $346,000 in federal taxes and other payments in 2019 and claimed a refund of nearly $47,000.
- Debate organisers have said that moderators will not correct or fact-check Trump, noting that it is the job of the other debater to point out falsehoods. However, several media outlets have said they would perform their own fact-checks in real time.