Trump and Biden Square Off in the First of the 2020 Presidential Debates

In a heated matchup, Republican nominee, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee, Joe Biden in partake in the first of three presidential debates for the 2020 election

On Sept. 29, the Republican nominee, President Donald Trump; and the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, participated in the first of three debates for the 2020 Presidential Election. The debate was held in Cleveland, Ohio, and began at 9 p.m. EST and lasted until 10:30 p.m with no commercial breaks. During that time, the candidates answered questions pertaining to specific issues such as climate change, healthcare, COVID-19, and racism.

Typically, the candidates would shake hands before beginning and the audience would be packed with spectators eager to watch the Republican and Democratic nominee face off the general presidential election debates, but these are not “typical” times. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the audience was limited to ensure that proper social distancing could occur. Face masks, in compliance with the Cleveland Clinic and other health official’s recommendations, were also enforced with the exception of the moderator and two candidates.

The debate was designed to take the format of six 15-minute segments categorized by topic in which the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, would ask a question and each candidate then had two minutes to answer. The remainder of the time in each segment would then be used for open discussion where each candidate would have the opportunity to respond to one another, and nothing was off-limits.

The first subject up for debate was the Supreme Court, specifically the recent decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not surprisingly, the candidates had differing opinions on whether or not a Supreme Court nomination should be considered months before a presidential election takes place. This was only one of the areas in which the candidates disagreed, with President Trump defending his position in nominating Barret saying “We won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her” while Biden supported his claim that it is an abuse of power and should be up to the people to decide.

In addition to the Supreme Court and other current issues, Biden and Trump also discussed election security and the legitimacy of the way voting was being conducted amid the pandemic. Trump went on to express his concerns about fraudulent ballots as well as delays in counting votes, speculating that the announcement of the winner of the election will be delayed for several weeks after Nov. 8 due to mail-in ballots. Biden took the opportunity to encourage voting saying that “he’s [President Trump] trying to scare people into thinking that it’s not going to be legitimate.”

The debate was quite different from past debates in more ways than one. Many have said the debate was like “nothing they have ever seen before” referring to the constant interruptions, crude comments, and shouting coming from both candidates. Following the debate, members of both the Republican and Democratic party, have expressed their overall disapproval of the way President Trump and Joe Biden conducted themselves in the first presidential debate. Through the constant interruptions, it was difficult to understand either candidate. Many are hoping the next debate will be better.

The next debate, which will be between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, the two vice-presidential candidates, is set to take place on Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. in Salt Lake City, Utah. The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15.

You can watch the full Presidential Debate below and you can read a full transcript of the debate here.