5 major moments from the first 2020 presidential debate


President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden hit the stage in Ohio on Tuesday night for the first presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle.

As expected, the evening was contentious. They fought over the Supreme Court nomination, coronavirus, and taxes, among other hot-button issues.

Find a recap of major moments from the first of this year's presidential debates below.

Trump defends response to COVID-19


Donald Trump defended his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday. “They've got to open these states up,” he insisted. “It's not fair. It's like being in prison.” Biden sharply criticized Trump’s response, specifically citing the 200,000 death toll recently surpassed in the U.S. “When he was presented with that number, he said, ‘It is what it is,’” Biden said. “‘It is what it is’ because you are who you are.”

Biden: ‘My son was a war hero’


Things got personal for Biden when Trump launched attacks on Biden’s son Hunter, and shrugged off Biden’s late son Beau, a soldier who fought in Iraq. Biden stood up for both his sons, calling Beau a “war hero” and acknowledging his son Hunter’s past challenges with drug addiction (“he’s overcome it and I’m proud of him”). But the former vice president ultimately pulled the conversation back to focus on the issues, saying, “This is not about my family or his family, this is about your family — the American people. He doesn't want to talk about what you need."

Clashing over Trump’s SCOTUS nomination

The debate began with something at the front of everyone’s minds — Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. When asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether Barrett should be nominated before the election, Trump replied, “We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate. We have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all.” Biden opposed: “We should wait, we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is.”

Election integrity

When asked whether he would accept the result of this year’s election, Trump refused to answer in the affirmative. “I'm encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully," Trump said. He added: “If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that.” Biden, on the other hand, remained steadfast, urging viewers: “Show up and vote. You will determine the outcome of this election. Vote, vote, vote.”

Frequent interruptions and relentless jabs

The evening was characterized almost from the beginning by jabs from both candidates and frequent interruptions of one another. Despite attempts to bring moments back on track, Wallace struggled to moderate. And Trump and Biden exchanged some not-so-minced words with each other. “Everything he is saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies. Everyone knows he’s a liar,” Biden said. Trump returned, “There’s nothing smart about you. Forty-seven years you’ve done nothing.”

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