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Highlights from the first 2020 presidential debate

The first 2020 presidential debate officially concluded in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. The six-part event covered a variety of topics like coronavirus, the economy, race, and violence. Here’s a look back on some of the key moments.

Video Transcript


JOE BIDEN: People out there need help.

DONALD TRUMP: But why didn't you do it over the last 25 years?

JOE BIDEN: Because you weren't president--

DONALD TRUMP: Why didn't you do it over the last 25 years?

JOE BIDEN: Because you weren't president screwing things up.

DONALD TRUMP: You were a senator.

JOE BIDEN: You're the worst president America has ever had. Come on.

DONALD TRUMP: Let me just tell you, Joe, I've done more in-- in 47 months, I've done more than you've done in 47 years.

CHRIS WALLACE: All right, that's the end of this segment, we're moving on.

JOE BIDEN: It didn't take that.

CHRIS WALLACE: Vice President-- no--

DONALD TRUMP: Can I be honest? It's a very important question.

JOE BIDEN: Try to be honest.

DONALD TRUMP: He stood up-- he stood up--

CHRIS WALLACE: The answer to the question is no.



DONALD TRUMP: With $1 billion of--

JOE BIDEN: That is absolutely--

CHRIS WALLACE: --wait, stop.

JOE BIDEN: --not true.

DONALD TRUMP: You're doing it.

CHRIS WALLACE: You're going to have--

JOE BIDEN: Not true.

CHRIS WALLACE: Gentlemen, I hate to raise my voice, but I see it to be, why should I be different than the two of you? So here's the deal-- we have six segments. We have ended that segment. We're going to go to the next segment. In that segment, you each are going to have two uninterrupted moments.

In those two uninterrupted minutes, Mr. President, you can say anything you want. I'm going to ask a question about race, but if you want to answer about something else, go ahead. But I think that the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I'm appealing to you, sir, to do that.

JOE BIDEN: You know how strongly you feel it. Let-- vote now.

DONALD TRUMP: Are you going to--

JOE BIDEN: Make sure you, in fact, let people know--

DONALD TRUMP: He doesn't want to answer the question.

JOE BIDEN: --your senators. I'm not going to answer the question.

DONALD TRUMP: Why wouldn't you answer that question?

JOE BIDEN: Because the question is-- the question is--

DONALD TRUMP: The Supreme Court Justice, radical left--

JOE BIDEN: Will you shut up, man?

DONALD TRUMP: Listen, who is on your list Joe?

CHRIS WALLACE: --a lot of other taxes, but I'm asking you the specific question-- is it true that you paid $750 in federal income taxes each of those two years?

DONALD TRUMP: I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax. And let me just tell you, there was a story in one of the papers that--

JOE BIDEN: Show us your taxes.

DONALD TRUMP: --I paid $38 million one year. I paid $27 million one year.

JOE BIDEN: Show us your tax returns.

DONALD TRUMP: I went-- you'll see it as soon as it's finished. You'll see it. You know, what you want to do, go to the Board of Elections. There's a 118 page or so report that says everything I have, every bank I have. I'm totally under leveraged because the assets are extremely good.

CHRIS WALLACE: Vice President Biden, you want to respond?

JOE BIDEN: Yeah, I do want to respond. Look, the tax code that made him-- put him in a position that he pays less tax than a school teacher make-- the money a schoolteacher makes, is because of him taking-- he says he's smart because he can take advantage of the tax code. And he does take advantage of the tax code. That's why I'm going to eliminate the Trump tax cuts.