Trump bullied, bulldozed and obfuscated his way through the 90-minute showdown, interrupting Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News at every turn. He ignored substantive questions and Biden’s policy arguments, and instead swung at a straw-man version of Biden, taking aim at both Biden’s son and a distorted description of his record that exists primarily in far-right media.
The debate was divided into six topics, but many Americans tuning in would have had a hard time finding any clarity about either man’s positions, as the debate devolved into shouting, rancor and cross talk that at times made it impossible to follow what either man was talking about.
In case you missed tonight’s debate, here are four key moments:
Trump addresses the New York Times report on his taxes
The President offered a simple defense for the low amount of income taxes he’s paid over the years: “I don’t want to pay tax.”
At the same time, however, Trump also insisted that he pays millions in taxes, contradicting the New York Times’ reporting, which indicated that he paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017.
Different realities on the coronavirus
Biden, citing the staggering coronavirus death toll and case number in the US, said, “The President has no plan. He hasn’t laid out anything.”
Trump, however, insisted that Biden “could not have done the job we did.”
The President also brought up his administration’s plan to quickly distribute a coronavirus vaccine, but Biden questioned why Americans should trust someone who lies so frequently.
“This is the same man who told you by Easter this would be gone away. By the warm weather, it’d be gone — like a miracle. And by the way, maybe you could inject some bleach into your arm,” Biden said.
Biden responds to Trump’s attacks on his son, Hunter
Reacting to Trump’s repeated unfounded and false claims about Hunter Biden acting corruptly in Ukraine, the former vice president said, “This is not about my family or his family, this is about your family — the American people.”
“He doesn’t want to talk about what you need,” Biden added.
At another point in the debate, Trump raised Hunter Biden’s past issues with drug addiction.
“My son had a drug problem, but he’s overcome it and I’m proud of him,” Biden responded.
Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists
Trump refused to explicitly call out white supremacists for inciting violence at anti-police brutality demonstrations across the country, saying during the debate that the violence wasn’t an issue caused by the right and telling one far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”
“Sure, I’m willing to (tell them to stand down), but I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing. I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” Trump said.
Read more about last night’s debate here.
Watch key moments: