The first presidential debate between former vice president Joe Biden and President Donald Trump took place last Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. While the debate itself was an explosive display, the aftermath has been another 2020 twist, with Trump and other notable Republicans testing positive for Coronavirus.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no handshake before the debate. Instead of a filled auditorium, the debate was in front of a small, socially distanced audience. Health screenings were required for everyone in the building.
Moderator Chis Wallace asked the two candidates about their personal records, the Supreme Court, the Coronavirus, the economy, race and violence in the country and the election’s integrity.
The debate began with a discussion about Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett.
“We won the election,” the President said. “Therefore, we have the right to choose her.”
While the president believes he has the right to pick the next justice, former vice president Biden says that the election is too close to confirm an associate justice.
“The election has already started. Tens of thousands of people have already voted. So the thing that should happen is we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is,” Biden stated.
At most times, it was impossible to hear each side’s stance on the issue because they were shouting over each other, with Trump refusing to grant his opponent uninterrupted time.
However, Biden managed to convey that citizens can keep their private insurance under his healthcare plan if they choose or join Obamacare.
The debate moved on to the Coronavirus issue, where Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
Biden argued that when Donald Trump was presented with the statistics on the 200,000 people who have died, he said, “It is what it is.”
“It is what it is because you are who you are,” Biden shot at Trump.
“The president has no plan. He knew it was a deadly disease, and he did nothing. You need to get out of the sand-trap and into the oval office, bring together Democrats and Republicans, and fund what needs to be done to save lives.”
Biden also claimed that Trump is rushing a vaccine before it is ready.
Trump says he disagrees with the head of “Operation Warp Speed,” Dr. Slaui, and CDC director Dr. Redfield, who say the vaccine will not be out until the summer.
“It’s a very political thing. I’ve spoken to the companies, and they say they can get it out a lot faster,” the President stated.
Cerritos College student Mike Salazar feels the vaccine is becoming politicized:
“It should be about people’s health not about politics or anything. I would have to hear how people are after they take it, [and] also what doctors and scientists say. How they tested the vaccine and other opinions and articles.”
“The vaccine is a political stunt,” says Norwalk resident and Political Science degree recipient from Cal State Long Beach George Buchanan. “He believes the vaccine will help him in the battleground states. I wouldn’t trust it without testing, to see if it is reliable.”
The debate moved on to the economy, Trump criticized Biden’s willingness to shut down the country again because of the pandemic.
“Our country is coming back incredibly well, setting records as it does it. We don’t need someone to come in and shut it down,” Trump said.
Biden countered the president, claiming Trump wants to reopen the country for his own gain.
“Millionaires and billionaires like him, have done very well in the COVID crisis. That’s because of his tax proposal,” Biden claimed. “You can’t fix the country until you fix the COVID crisis. We need to take care of the needs of the American people before we can open safely.”
Biden also criticized Trump for paying $750 in taxes.
“He’s taken advantage of the tax laws, which is why I will eliminate the Trump tax codes. We need to invest in the people that need help.”
Trump then interrupted Biden as to why he did not make changes when he was vice president. The vice president has little power to control the economy.
After another yelling match, Wallace moved on to the issue of racism. Biden criticized Trump’s response to the Charlottesville riots.
“We need equity and equality, we can’t just walk away from the issue,” Biden continued. “During the riots, the president said ‘There were very fine people on both sides.'”
When President Trump was asked to denounce white supremacy during the debate, he refused.
He then told the neo-nazi group called “The Proud Boys” to “Stand back and stand by” before pivoting to criticizing “the left.”
When Trump was asked why he asked federal agencies to stop racial sensitivity training, he defended himself by saying, “It’s racist. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, that it’s a racist place, and I won’t allow that to happen.”
“Trump indirectly gave a green light to insight hate and violence if he loses,” Buchanan stated. “He is dividing our country.”
Biden took the chance to clarify that he is opposed to defunding the police.
“What I support is the police having the opportunity to deal with the problems they face,” Biden said. “I am totally opposed to defunding the police.”
Wallace decided to move on to the two candidates’ personal records.
The president claims he has accomplished a great deal in his first term.
“Nobody has accomplished as much as I have in three years, even with the impeachment hoax,” Trump stated. “Before COVID, we had the greatest economy in history and the lowest unemployment numbers. We are rebuilding the military, including Space Force.”
“Global warming has gotten worse since he took office and he’s given voice to white supremacy. He’s been horrible for the country,” Salazar said.
“The country has become more divided since he took office,” Buchanan said. “Before COVID, things were okay, but his handling of the pandemic has caused an economic downfall. He has failed the American people.”
Biden countered Trump’s claim, saying that the state of the country has declined under his administration.
“When I was vice president, we created a booming economy, and he ruined it. He won’t even stand up to (Rusian president) Putin. He’s Putin’s puppy.”
The final topic for debate was the election’s integrity, where the president claimed a flaw in the mail-in ballots.
“They’re sending ballots all over the country. They found them in creeks and waste paper baskets. There is going to be massive fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump stated.
Biden encouraged people to vote any way they choose.
“The people should decide how they are going to vote. His own FBI director said there is no evidence of tampering with mail-in ballots,” Biden said. “This is a ploy to persuade people to not go and vote.”
“I’d personally go to the polls, just in case,” commented Salazar.
“Mail in ballots have been used since the civil war,” Buchanan stated. “The president himself and public service workers vote this way. There is no issue with it.”
Once the debate was over, it was difficult for the country to have an effective takeaway.
“Their performance was awful,” stated Salazar. “Totally unpresidential.”
“There was no clear winner,” Buchanan said. “Neither side conveyed a clear message, it was a shouting match. It was embarrassing for the country.”
The vice presidential debate is set for Oct. 7 at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The next presidential debate is set for Oct. 15 at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida but it has yet to be seen whether this debate will take place considering the President’s positive COVID test and the resulting hospitalization.