Personal attacks and interruptions dominated the first presidential debate between United States President and Republican Nominee, Donald Trump, and Democratic Nominee, Joe Biden, ahead of November’s presidential election in the country.
In the 90-minute debate early Wednesday, they faced questions on some of the crucial issues facing American voters.
Biden launched the first attacks amid constant interruptions by Trump. He described the American president as a “clown” and a “liar.”
“Everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies,” the democrat said at a point.
He went on to describe Trump as “the worst president that America has ever had.”
“47 years, you’ve done nothing, the people understand, Joe,” the president hit back.
Biden criticised Trump’s COVID-19 response that has seen over 200,000 Americans die, saying “he has no plans.”
But the republican berated his democratic rival for criticising his response saying Trump needed to get “a lot smarter” to avert more deaths.
“You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word smart with me. Don’t ever use that word with me. There’s nothing smart about you, Joe,” the president fired back.
After a bombshell report from The New York Times indicating that Trump paid almost no federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017, the president was asked to clear the air.
Asked whether he had paid more than $750 in income tax in those years, he at first deflected and when pressed, said he had paid “millions of dollars.”
Biden, who released his own 2019 return before the debate, showing he and his wife had paid nearly $300,000, asked Trump to “show us your tax returns.”
“You’ll get to see it,” Trump replied, not saying when.
Recently, the president failed to explicitly guarantee a peaceful transfer of power, should he lose on November 3.
Both men were asked if they would pledge to honor the election results. Trump did not commit.
“We might not know for months,” Trump said, adding later, “This is not going to end well.”
“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” he said.
The president added that he would not “go along” with conceding the election if he believed the results had been “manipulated.”
Biden pledged to respect the results “after all the ballots are counted.”
“That will be the end of it. And if it’s me, fine. If it’s not me, I will support the outcome,” he said.
The debate was moderated by Fox News Anchor, Chris Wallace.