Tempers flare as Trump, Biden clash in 1st presidential debate


Washington: US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden fiercely clashed over a number of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, economy and climate, during the first presidential debate, marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations.

During the first of the three presidential debates in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday night moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, 74-year-old Trump and his 77-year-old rival Biden also traded barbs about each other’s families, making it one of the most chaotic White House debates in years.

“The fact is that everything he’s (Trump) saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar,” Biden said. Trump responded, saying Biden is a liar and graduated last in his class.

Attacking Trump over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people and infected over 7 million in the US, Biden said the president has “no plan” to fight the deadly disease and he lied to Americans.

“He still hasn’t even acknowledged that he knew this was happening, knew how dangerous it was going to be back in February, and he didn’t even tell you. He is on record as saying it. He panicked or he just looked at the stock market, one of the two, because guess what, a lot of people die and lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker,” he said.

Trump hit back, saying, “don’t ever use the word smart with me.”

“When you talk about numbers, you don’t know how many people died in China. You don’t know how many people died in Russia. You don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t exactly give you a right number. Just so you understand,” Trump said, defending his handling of the crisis.

As the two rivals clashed on medicate, Trump said the Democrats were planning socialising of medicine. Biden replied, “What this clown is doing?”

Trump also justified his administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, saying the agreement was a “disaster”. Biden, however, vowed to rejoin the historic accord if voted to power.

The former vice president was also critical of Trump’s handling of the events after the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Trump asserted that he paid millions of dollars in income taxes and dubbed the recent New York Times report that he paid just USD 750 in income tax in the year he was elected US president as “wrong”.

Biden described Trump as the “worst president America has ever had.” He also branded Trump “a fool”, when the president was talking about the large crowd that he has been drawing in the election campaign. Hitting back, Trump said nobody shows up to Biden’s rallies.

Trump also expressed hope that the November 3 election would be “fair” and urged his supporters to watch “very carefully” the entire voting process to ensure there is nothing fraudulent.