Selasa, 29 September 2020

US Presidential Debate LIVE updates: Donald Trump and Joe Biden clash over race issues, coronavirus and Obamacare - The Sydney Morning Herald


  • President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are facing off in Cleveland Ohio for the first of the presidential debates. The 90-minute showdown will be conducted under strict coronavirus guidelines, with no handshakes, social distancing, and COVID tests for all attendees.
  • Coronavirus, the US economy, and race and violence are some of the topics that will be hotly contested today. The death of civil rights icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also throw the spotlight on the future US Supreme Court and Trump's conservative nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
  • The election will be held on November 3 but early postal voting has already begun in some states. Voter turnout is expected to reach record levels year, with some experts predicting that the number of people voting either in person or by mail could exceed 145 million.
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Watch live: US presidential debate

The US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden begins at 11am AEST. You can watch it live here:

Latest updates

End to an ugly first clash

By Nick O'Malley

Asked directly if he will pledge not to claim victory until it is officially declared and urge his supporters to remain calm has refused to do so. Of all the unprecedented aspects of his presidency, this is the one most disturbing some observers at present.

Rather than agree to such a pledge Trump called for Republican “poll observers” to attend voting places and he said it was possible the election would be stolen. Earlier in the debate, he called on the white supremacist group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.

Clash of the candidates: Trump and Biden

Clash of the candidates: Trump and BidenCredit:AP

This marked the end of an ugly and confrontational clash, mostly due to Trump’s own needless aggression.

Little could have been learned by viewers in the US considering their votes.

A fiery brawl comes to an end

With that, the debate ends, with Trump and Biden’s wives joining them on stage.

It was quite something to watch - Biden came across as competent (exceeding the very low bar that the Republicans had set for him) but Trump came across as aggressive and forceful, clearly dominating the proceedings.

Whether Americans are any wiser about the candidates’ policies, given the fierce and fiery nature of this exchange, is another thing altogether.


'This is not going to end well,' Trump says of election

By Farrah Tomazin

Trump is now invoking a well-worn theme, claiming once again without evidence that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud. He starts claiming in West Virginia people are “selling the ballots, they're being sold, they're being dumped in rivers.”

President Donald Trump

President Donald TrumpCredit:AP

“This is not going to end well,” he claims.

Just last week the US President declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 presidential election.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

Voting in the time of corona

By Farrah Tomazin

We’re now onto the issue of election integrity. As this debate takes place, millions of Americans are getting mail-in ballots, providing them with an option for postal voting in the era of coronavirus.

Asked by Wallace what he’s prepared to do to reassure the American people that the next president will be the legitimate winner of the election Biden talks about the need to ensure people vote however they see fit.

“You will determine the outcome of the election,” says Biden. “Vote, vote, vote early... and if you're able to, vote in person.”

Trump still refuses to acknowledge climate change link

By Nick O'Malley

Trump is still ducking the question of climate change, saying it may exist “to some extent” but returning to his claim that US forest fires are caused by land management rather than climate change. He is also arguing in support of his moves to strip away Obama-era fuel standards. California is ignoring Trump and has responded by announcing that it will simply phase out internal combustion engines.

Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, California.

Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, California.Credit:AP

Biden by comparison is happy to focus on this issue. He is campaigning on a US$2 trillion ($2.8t) green stimulus recovery and in the debate just observed that there would be no new oil or coal power stations. In this most major energy consultancies agree.

He is clearly happy to stand by these policies, emphasising that he would rejoin the Paris agreement and use American diplomatic might to encourage other countries to do more.

Trump has falsely claimed that Biden’s environmental plan would cost US$100 trillion. Trump appears to be discussing the so-called Green New Deal, proposed by elements of the left of the Democratic Party rather than Biden’s own plan. At the end of a long answer, Biden noted the cost of climate change on the economy.

Trump goes for the jugular

By Farrah Tomazin

Trump is really going for the jugular here, attacking Joe Biden's son Hunter (again) for discredited claims over his dealings in Ukraine.

As Joe Biden starts talking about his other son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015, Trump hits out at Hunter personally, bringing up his previous cocaine use.

President Donald Trump pauses during the first presidential debate.

President Donald Trump pauses during the first presidential debate.Credit:AP

Biden does well not to take the bait too much, simply noting that Hunter was able to get over his addiction.

As expected, the President's aggressive style and personal attacks have so far allowed him to dominate his opponent.


Trump tries to reach a divided audience

By Nick O'Malley

The section on violence in American cities is good news for Trump. Many in his camp believe that suburban women voters who have been appalled by some aspects of the Trump presidency will return to the fold if scared by the prospect of violence.

This is why Trump needs to describe Antifa as a cohesive and dangerous organisation, rather than, as Biden put it, an idea.

Biden needs to try to rebuild and hold the coalition of minorities that elected and re-elected the Obama administration while trying to reach the working-class white people that presidency lost. A hard task for him, fertile ground for Trump.

'You can't even say the words law enforcement,' Trump tells Biden

By Farrah Tomazin

We're now onto the issue of race.

America has been undergoing a national reckoning on race since the death of George Floyd on May 25. (I recently visited the city to see how it faring in the wake of Floyd’s death - you can check out my feature here).

In recent months, however, violent protests in the US, often hijacked by subgroups that have little to do with the genuine civil rights movement, have rocked some cities and given Trump fertile ground with which to frame himself as a "law and order" President.

In the face of looting and rioting in places such as Portland (where protests have continued for months) or Kenosha (where black man Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by police) Trump has been pushing that you "will not be safe in Joe Biden's America".

Today, he's pushing the same theme, telling Biden that he's so beholden to the progressive wing of the Democrats that "you can't even say the words law enforcement because if you say those words, you're going to lose all of your radical left supporters".

'It's hard to get a word in with this clown': Biden

By Farrah Tomazin

Trump is fired up, talking aggressively over Biden as well as moderator Chris Wallace, who is struggling to keep proceedings on track.

"It's hard to get a word in with this clown. Excuse me, I mean, this President," says Biden.

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden speaks during the first presidential debate.

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden speaks during the first presidential debate.Credit:AP

As expected, Trump also goes after Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, in a bid to rile up the former VP.

Trump's taxes

By Farrah Tomazin

Wallace is now asking the President if he'll tell the American people how much he's paid in taxes.

Presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.Credit:AP

Trump replies: "Millions of millions of dollars."

The line of questioning comes after The New York Times reported two days ago that Trump had only paid $US750 ($1050) in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 – and no taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Biden released his tax returns a few hours before the debate and called on Trump to do the same. The records show that Biden and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $US300,000 in federal income tax last year and had an adjusted gross income of about $US985,000.

Biden tells the audience that he wants to eliminate Trump's taxes for the wealthy. The president hits back, telling his rival: "If you got in, if you ever became president with your ideas... half of the companies that have poured in here will leave.

"We'll have a depression, the likes of which you've never seen."

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2020-09-30 02:34:00Z

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