Biden and Trump clash on coronavirus and race in presidential debate


President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden began the first presidential debate with heated exchanges over coronavirus and health care.

The two men frequently interrupted each other with angry interjections, with Mr Biden eventually snapping at his opponent: “Will you shut up, man?”

As the discussion about the Supreme Court quickly turned to coronavirus, Mr Trump claimed, without evidence, two million people would have died if his opponent were president.

Live stream and updates from the first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News pleaded with Mr Trump, stating that COVID-19 would be discussed later in the debate.

‘You’re the worst president America has ever had’

He then asked Mr Trump about whether he had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and the president said: “First of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him, but that’s OK. I’m not surprised.”

The president said Mr Biden had adopted former Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders’ “socialised medicine”

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And after he explained his health proposal, Mr Biden said: “He has no plan for healthcare… The fact is this man has no idea what he’s talking about.”

The topic then turned to the coronavirus outbreak with Mr Biden questioning Mr Trump’s leadership, suggesting he had panicked and failed to protect Americans because he was more concerned about the economy.

Trump on Biden: ‘There’s nothing smart about you, Joe’

“He panicked or he looked at the stock market.

“A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker.”

The president objected to Mr Biden using the word “smart”, arguing: “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.”

He defended his approach on the pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people in the US.

“We’ve done a great job,” Mr Trump said. “But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we’ve done. You don’t have it in your blood.”

As the conversation moved to race, Mr Biden accused the president of walking away from the American promise of equity for all and making a race-based appeal.

The two men repeatedly interrupted each other

“This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” he said.

Recent months have seen major protests after the deaths of black people at the hands of police.

And the former vice president said there is systemic racist injustice in the US while the vast majority of police officers are “decent, honourable men and women” there are “bad apples” and people have to be held accountable.

Mr Trump in turn claimed that his opponents work on a federal crime bill treated the African American population “about as bad as anybody in this country”.

The president pivoted to his hardline focus on those protesting racial injustice and accused Mr Biden of being afraid to use the words “law and order” out of fear of alienating the left.

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