Rabu, 30 September 2020

US presidential debate: Donald Trump interrupted challenger Joe Biden 73 times -

US President Donald Trump interrupted challenger Joe Biden a whopping 73 times in what has been dubbed an “angry” and “chaotic” opening presidential debate.

As flustered Fox News moderator Chris Wallace pleaded with the President to “allow people to speak with fewer interruptions”, the debate quickly descended into a shouting match.

Both candidates traded barbs, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden telling Mr Trump to “shut up”, describing him as a clown during the heated exchange.

The Commission on Presidential Debates says it will add more “structure” to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s trainwreck between Mr Trump and Mr Biden.

The planned changes, the details of which have not yet been officially announced, will include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they break the rules, CBS News reported.

In a statement, the non-profit group said the chaotic first debate between the US President and the Democratic candidate “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues”.

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Mr Trump’s interruptions – which a count by CBS News clocked at 73 – had most of the focus overnight. It is a familiar tactic for Mr Trump, who interrupted Hillary Clinton 51 times in their first presidential debate back in 2016.

“It was clear early on what kind of ‘debate’ this would be,” North America reporter Anthony Zurcher wrote for the BBC.

“Donald Trump’s objective was to rattle Joe Biden – and he planned to do it by constantly interrupting the former vice-president.

“That made for a series of chaotic exchanges, which included Trump questioning Biden’s intelligence.

“Time and time again, Trump would snipe at Biden, leaving the Democrat laughing and shaking his head.”

Despite this, political correspondent Ed O’Keefe said Trump campaign aides felt the President had “strong command of the stage”.

The debate in Cleveland, Ohio, was as bad-tempered as had been feared, with Mr Trump leading the way in yelling over both his challenger and Wallace.

CBS This Morning said “Biden could barely finish a thought” amid the heated confrontation.

Regardless of his inability to speak uninterrupted though, a CBS poll saw Mr Biden win the night by 48 per cent to Mr Trump’s 41 per cent.

Following the debate, Mr Trump tweeted that Wallace had “a tough night”.

“Two on one was not surprising, but fun,” he said.

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Mr Biden, though, gave as good as he got, launching the kind of attack Mr Trump has rarely had to endure to his face.

“Liar,” “racist” and “clown” were just some of the missiles launched from Mr Biden, who also branded Mr Trump the “puppy” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At times, neither Mr Biden nor Wallace could get a word in, as Mr Trump loudly touted his economic record and went after Mr Biden’s son Hunter.

“This will go down as one of the worst debates in history,” Aaron Kall, a presidential debate specialist at the University of Michigan, told AFP.

At one point Mr Biden, who is currently leading strongly in the polls, turned to Mr Trump and said: “Will you shut up, man!”

The debate did nothing to calm fears around America that November’s presidential election, taking place in the middle of an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, could end in chaos.

Mr Biden sought to tie Mr Trump squarely to the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the United States – more than in any other country.

And he came with a visible plan to dodge the Trump rhetorical storm by frequently turning to face the cameras directly and addressing the tens of millions of people watching.

“How many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the kitchen table because someone died of COVID?” Mr Biden said.

Mocking the President for one of his more infamous statements on supposed coronavirus cures, Mr Biden said: “Maybe you could inject bleach in your arm and that would take care of it.”


Before they even appeared for the first of their scheduled three 90-minute TV debates, Mr Biden was capitalising on bombshell revelations in The New York Times that the billionaire President managed to avoid paying almost any federal income taxes for years.

Mr Trump, who has broken longtime presidential transparency by refusing to publish his tax returns, reportedly used loopholes to pay just $750 in federal tax during the first year of his presidency.

Hours before the Cleveland showdown, Mr Biden published his own tax returns, and at the debate demanded that Mr Trump do likewise.

During the debate Mr Trump insisted that he has paid “millions” in taxes. But the issue of tax continues to provide Mr Biden ammunition to chip away at Trump’s crucial support from blue collar voters.

The next debate is scheduled for October 15 in Miami.

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2020-09-30 22:31:33Z

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