President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden faced off from a social distance in the first presidential debate of 2020 in Cleveland, just five weeks out from Election Day.
The first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic came on the heels of bombshell reporting from The New York Times on two decades of Trump’s tax records, ahead of a contentious Supreme Court confirmation process in the Senate and as the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden maintains a 10-point edge among both registered and likely voters.
The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the race was also on display as the two candidates didn’t partake in a handshake, customary at the top of such events. The size of the audience was also limited and everyone attending the debate had to undergo COVID-19 testing and follow other public health protocols.
The debate’s moderator, Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday,” selected six topics for Tuesday with each segment expected to get approximately 15 minutes: Trump’s and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election — the final topic coming as Trump over the weekend wouldn’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power.