Home World News Forceful Trump, halting Biden clash in fiery presidential debate

Forceful Trump, halting Biden clash in fiery presidential debate

by Mir Shakil
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Joe Biden and Donald Trump traded fiery barbs Thursday as they bitterly attacked each other’s records and conduct, in a debate with enormous stakes as each seeks to shift the razor-tight race for the White House.

Trump went loudly on the offensive, seeking to cast his successor as a failure on the economy and the world stage, with Biden hitting back but with a halting delivery, speaking quickly in a soft, trailing-off voice and stumbling on his words several times.

The face-off between a current and former president — who each accused the other of being history’s worst — took place far earlier than usual in the election cycle in a deeply polarized country still scarred by the chaos and violence of the 2020 election.

Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, did not shake hands as they walked to their podiums at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta with no live audience and with their microphones muted as the other spoke.

Biden, who was reported to have a cold, hit Trump with clearly rehearsed lines as he sought to remind millions of television viewers that Trump would be the first convicted felon in the White House.

“Think of all the civil penalties you have. How many billions of dollars do you owe in civil penalties for, for molesting a woman in public,” Biden said, and “for having sex with a porn star on the night, while your wife was pregnant?”

“You have the morals of an alley cat,” Biden said.

Trump, a veteran of rallies and reality television, spoke forcefully as he rushed through a long list of complaints about Biden’s record.

“It’s a shame what’s happened to our country in the last four years,” Trump said

“I’m friends with a lot of people. They cannot believe what happened to the United States of America. We’re no longer respected.”

Trump sought to seize on Biden’s delivery, saying at one point, “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

– Attack on economic record –

Biden immediately attacked Trump when he was asked about stubborn inflation, saying: “We got to take a look at what I was left when I became president.”

“We had an economy that was in free fall. The pandemic was so badly handled, many people were dying. All he said was not that serious — just inject a little bleach in your arm,” he said, referring to Trump’s advice during the Covid pandemic.

Trump said that he led “the greatest economy in the history of our country.”

“We have never done so well. Everybody was amazed by other countries were copying us,” he said.

Biden shot back: “Well, look, the greatest economy in the world? He’s the only one who thinks that.”

In one of the most personal attacks, Biden cited accounts that Trump had described soldiers who died in the Normandy landing as “suckers” and noted his own son Beau, who served in Iraq and later died of cancer.

“My son was not a loser, was not a sucker. You’re the sucker. You’re the loser,” Biden said.

Trump denied the remarks and repeatedly accused Biden of not being coherent in his remarks.

– Clash on world role –

On the world stage, Trump accused Biden — who faces a backlash from parts of his Democratic base over his support for Israel — of not helping Israel “finish the job” against Hamas.

“He doesn’t want to do it. He’s become like a Palestinian — but they don’t like him because he’s a very bad Palestinian, he’s a weak one,” Trump said.

Trump described Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as the “most embarrassing moment in the history of our country” and said it encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine.

Biden, however, noted that he was the first recent president who has not had soldiers at risk overseas.

Trump and Biden also locked horns over abortion and immigration, key issues for their respective bases.

Biden, attacking Trump for appointing justices to the Supreme Court who ended Roe vs. Wade, the decision that allowed abortion rights around the country, said: “It’s been a terrible thing, what you’ve done.”

Some Democratic supporters immediately voiced anxiety about Biden’s performance.

At a watch party in San Francisco, Hazel Reitz said she would still vote for Biden but added: “I can’t understand a word that he says. Isn’t it sad?”

One candidate not on the stage is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the member of the storied political dynasty who is running an anti-establishment campaign but failed to meet CNN’s standard of reaching 15 percent in four national polls.

Kennedy instead spent the 90 minutes of the Biden-Trump debate taking questions on a livestream.

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