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Three Takeaways From Trump, Biden Debate

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden met Tuesday for the first presidential debate ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The 90-minute matchup was moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace and held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Here are three takeaways from the debate: 

Interruptions 

Trump repeatedly talked over both Biden and moderator Wallace during the debate. The result was chaotic, as both men frequently interrupted each other. 

The prime-time broadcast often showed a side-by-side view of the candidates with each man talking, at times simultaneously. 

Trump was often rebuked by Wallace, who told the president to “please let the vice president talk.” At one point Biden told Trump, “Will you shut up, man?”

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western…
President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump’s Taxes 

Just two days before Tuesday’s debate, The New York Times published a lengthy report showing that Trump, a billionaire who often has boasted of his business acumen, paid $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016, the year he ran for the presidency, and 2017, his first year in office. 

Trump is the first president in the past five decades to not release his tax returns. When asked by Wallace what he paid in federal income taxes, Trump said he had paid “millions of dollars. And you’ll get to see it.” He did not elaborate. 

Ahead of the debate, the Times’ story seemed sure to be a major topic in the debate. However, when Wallace sought Biden’s response, he said, “Show us your tax returns,” but then quickly turned to his plans to repeal Republican approved tax cuts that benefited businesses.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate…
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

'Race and violence'

One of the six topics chosen by Wallace was “race and violence" in U.S. cities, such as in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last month. 

Last week, FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials warned that white supremacist groups pose a rising threat of violence in the U.S. 

A tense exchange between Trump and Wallace occurred when the moderator asked the president to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and tell them to stand down and not contribute to the violence occurring at some anti-racism rallies. 

Trump at first appeared to sidestep the question, and then when pushed, he said, “What do you want me to call them? Give me a name.” 

Wallace offered up the  group known as the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. 

Trump spoke to the group, saying, “Proud Boys, stand back, stand by.” He then pivoted, however, criticizing left-wing activists. “Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem,” he said. 

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