The first 2020 Presidential Debate allowed the presidential candidates to discuss the state of our country in person. Almost immediately, the stage erupted in accusations and personal attacks. Despite this bloodbath, they provided their perspectives on and plans to deal with several issues that currently plague the United States. From healthcare to climate change, here are some of the new revelations that have emerged from last night’s debate.
1. Trump’s Alternative to the Affordable Care Act
Moderator Chris Wallace said to President Trump, “Over the last four years, you have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, but you have never come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare.” Trump responded, saying, “Of course I have. We got rid of the individual mandate…” Wallace asked, “What is the Trump health care plan?” Trump’s answer was, “I’m cutting drug prices. I’m going with favored nations, which no president has the courage to do because you’re going against big pharma.” He added that “Drug prices will be coming down 80% or 90%.” He used insulin as an example, saying, “It is destroying families, destroying people.” He claims that “[w]e are going to allow our governors now to go to other countries to buy drugs because they pay just a tiny fraction of what we do.”
2. Biden’s Perspective on Private Insurance
When discussing the Affordable Care Act, Wallace said to former Vice President Biden, “He (President Trump) points out that you would like to add a public option to Obamacare, and the argument that he makes and other republicans make is that that is going to end private insurance and will create a government takeover of health care.” Biden’s response was, “It does not. It’s only for people who are so poor that they qualify for Medicaid.” He said that “Anyone who qualifies for Medicaid would automatically be enrolled in the public option. The vast majority of the American people would still not be in that option.” Trump accused Joe Biden of agreeing with senator Bernie Sanders on the subject, saying, “You would socialize medicine.” Biden denied this, prompting Trump to claim that “You just lost the left.” He added that “You agreed with Bernie Sanders on a plan. It was absolutely agreed to…socialized medicine.”
3. Trump’s Federal Income Taxes
When asked by Wallace if he paid $750.00 in federal income taxes during the first two years of his presidency, Trump answered, “I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax…” He stated the exact amount he paid. “I paid 38 million dollars one year, I paid 27 million dollars one year…” Biden interrupted, asking Trump to share his tax returns, to which Trump responded, “You’ll see it as soon as it’s finished.” He added that “You know, if you wanted to, go to the Board of Elections. There’s a one-hundred and eighteen-page report that says everything I have, every bank I have, I’m totally underleveraged because the assets are extremely good.” When Wallace asked again how much Trump paid, Trump assured him that “Millions of dollars, and you’ll get to see it.”
4. Biden’s Rejection of the “Green New Deal”
While talking over the issue of climate change, Wallace asked Biden, “Do you support the Green New Deal?” Biden’s immediate answer was, “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal. I support the Biden Plan that I put forward.” This prompted a response from U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Responding to former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, she wrote on Twitter, “This isn’t news, Kellyanne. Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.”
5. The Bloodbath of Insults and Attacks
Throughout the debate, unprofessional behavior, not unlike petty schoolyard squabbles, abounded. Neither candidate was innocent of utilizing personal attacks, name-calling, and interruption to humiliate their opponent. Without proof, Trump stated that more civilians would have died of the Coronavirus if Biden had been put in charge of dealing with it from the beginning. Trump also questioned Hunter Biden’s (former Vice President Biden’s son) motives for taking money from China and Russia. Whether or not Hunter Biden’s motives were malicious in any way are yet to be determined. True or not, it was irrelevant to the debate. Despite starting rather civilly, Biden eventually began to interrupt Trump and, most often, prompted him to answer questions he was already in the process of responding. He called Trump a “clown,” a “liar,” and “the worst president America has ever had.” He said these statements as if they were self-evident despite not always providing evidence. Once, after being interrupted by Trump, he said, “Will you shut up, man?” Multiple times, Wallace asked both of them to stop talking over one another, eventually being forced to raise his voice to get them to move on. Those who watched the debate were taken aback by the hostility coming from both sides. Often, the issues at hand seemed to be put to the side for petty argument.
Two more debates are scheduled to happen. Hopefully, both of our presidential candidates, each possessing the potential to be our country’s future leader, will show more grace and civility in the debates to comes. UHS News encourages Wildcats to watch a recording of the first presidential debate for themselves, to understand the other topics covered and to form their own opinions.