Live Blog: First Presidential Debate 2020

Post-debate remarks.

That was the first debate of the 2020 Presidential election. It was… a debate for certain. Trump and Biden went after each other throughout the debate with Trump attacking Biden’s record and Biden attacking Trump’s records. There was a range of topics including climate change which was not supposed to be included. 

The outlook of the debate has been messy. There has been plenty of interruption where the candidates’ message to the public was halted and downplayed and the moderator had a difficult time to keep the debate on track. He previously said that he was not going to fact check the candidates during the debate, and I’m thinking whether, for the moderator’s performance, that was a poor choice on Wallace. 

It can be argued in both directions frankly. Wallace wanted to be in the background, but came short of it through heated arguments with President Trump. Whether this will affect the race or not, I would assume that it wouldn’t. Biden has a 7 point lead nationally, and Trump needed to either to boost himself up or bring Biden down. Trump may have committed to attacking Biden throughout the entire debate, the messy and tempered interruptions, and the possible negative media coverage that results from it, but it might not move the race in his direction.

Thank you all for joining us for our first live stream of the debate. Thank you to producer and Editor-in-Chief of the Equinox Elizabeth Scalzo, Managing Editor Amaya Morales, Social Media Team Members Chloe Colmenares, and Naniyah McClain for helping making this possible, Professor Krochmal for greenlighting this idea, and The Equinox along with our readers for the support. Good night. — Johnathan Miller (Twitter: @JMiller_NJ)

10:40 p.m. 

In a question to pledge to call against any civil unrest, Trump urges supporters to go into the polling booth and watch as poll watchers call it a fraud election. This was a big story a few days ago when he first suggested not accepting a peaceful transfer of power, so Trump reiterating this will certainly cause an uproar among the media.

10:36 p.m.

Trump attacks the election process and does not say he will accept a loss. Trump said that he is hoping the Supreme Court will look at the ballots. The partisan issue of mail-in ballots have been heightened this election, which causes some people to worry that voters may get worried about the attacks and depress turnout. Maybe that is one of the strategies when faced with an election week or month. Biden is giving important election information such as signing affidavits which may not help him per say but can help voters watching learn more about the process of rejecting a ballot.

10:32 p.m.

President Trump attacks former President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

10:31 p.m.

Last topic is election integrity. Biden says to count every vote and he will accept a loss if it happens.

10:30 p.m.

Biden comes out against the Green New Deal, but Trump keeps trying to make him as a Trojan horse for the left. I’m not sure whether this is a persuasive argument as many voters perceived Biden as a moderate candidate.

10:29 p.m.

According to the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, climate change was the 5th most important issue to Biden supporters but it’s the last important to Trump supporters.

10:26 p.m.

This seemed to be Biden’s strong response in response to the climate crisis, but Trump interrupts and it sort of overtakes Biden’s messaging.

10:20 p.m.

Wallace turns to climate change in an unexpected twist. Climate change was not originally supposed to be a topic discussed.

10:19 p.m.

Eye-popping situations that I would be surprised aren’t played into ads and talk-shows. Wallace gives Trump the chance to condemn white supremacy. Instead, Trump said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

10:13 p.m.

Trump tries to politicize the racial issues by tying violence to Democratic-held cities.

10:08 p.m.

Wallace said the Trump Administration directed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that works to address white privilege. He asked Trump why he did that and whether he believed there is systemic racism. Trump responded by saying, “I ended it because it’s racist.” That is one statement that is going to be played in the media afterwards.

10:04 p.m.

Biden denounces violence, but emphasizes that peaceful protests are good.

10:02 p.m.

Biden gives a strong answer regarding racial injustice. Trump turned to attack with Biden’s support of the Crime Bill.

9:58 p.m.

“It’s about equity and equality and decency. It’s about the Constitution” – Biden

9:57 p.m.

I’m not sure if this is a Trump-Biden debate or a Trump-Wallace debate.

9:56 p.m.

Fourth topic race and violence.

9:55 p.m.

Things get personal when President Trump brings up Hunter Biden, Biden’s son.

9:54 p.m.

The debate is about halfway over. I’m not sure whether anyone is really blowing expectations. Biden is staying focused, although not giving much of his point across successfully.Trump has been attacking Biden all night, although he seems unable to control his interruption.

9:51 p.m.

Wallace turns to taxes.

9:49 p.m.

“In 47 months, I’ve done more than what you’ve done in 47 years, Joe” -Trump.

9:48 p.m.

“You’re the worst president America has ever had” – Biden

9:48 p.m.

Trump reiterates that he paid millions of dollars in income tax. It seems as if it’s President Trump v. The New York Times story.

9:47 p.m.

“I paid millions of dollars in income taxes” – Trump. Biden: “Show us your tax returns.”

9:46 p.m.

Wallace officially goes into the federal income tax.

9:45 p.m.

Trump argues for a response, despite already using it, and goes into his statement.

9:44 p.m.

“This guy only paid a total of $750 in taxes” – Biden. Trump responds by saying, “wrong.”

9:42 p.m.

V shaped or K shaped recovery? Biden answered that it benefits the millionaires and billionaires. “Billionaires have gained another 300 billion dollars because of his tax proposal and he only focuses on the market.”

9:41 p.m.

“This guy will destroy the whole country.” -Trump

9:38 p.m.

Third topic is the economy.

9:37 p.m.

Masks make a big difference.” The candidates are going back and forth between whether masks are good.

“When needed, I wear a mask. I don’t wear a mask like him” – Biden.

9:35 p.m.

 “A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter quickly,” Biden said. Trump responds by questioning if he used smart. “There’s nothing smart about you.”

9:31 p.m.

“Maybe if you put some bleach in your arm and that will take care of it” – Biden

9:31 p.m.

“It’s a very political thing. People like this would rather make it political than save lives” – Trump.

9:30 p.m

Wallace turns to the future regarding the Coronavirus.

9:28 p.m.

“This is his economy that he shut down” – Biden

9:27 p.m.

“They give you good press, they give me bad press” – Trump.

“Your governor said I did a phenomenal job” – Trump.

9:26 p.m.

“You wouldn’t have closed it in another two months” – Trump.

9:25 p.m.

Topic two is COVID-19. Seven million cases and more than two million people died. Experts say it could be months/years before normal appears, according to Wallace. Why should the American people trust one over the other?

9:23 p.m.

“Would you shut up man?” – Biden to Trump 

Biden doesn’t answer the question and instead encourages people to vote.

Wallace turns back to the Supreme Court, specifically to extending the court and ending the filibuster

9:21 p.m.

“He has no plan for healthcare. He’s been promising a healthcare plan since he was elected. This man does not know what he is talking about.”

9:20 p.m.

“We took away the individual mandate. No matter how well you run Obamacare, it’s a disaster.”

“He has never offered a plan” – Biden.

9:16 p.m.

“I guess I’m debating you and not him,” Trump said to Wallace. 

Trump is interrupting the moderator.

9:15 p.m.

The topic drifted towards health care policy during the open discussion.

9:14 p.m.

“The party is me. I am the Democratic Party right now.” – Joe Biden.

9:12 p.m.

Joe Biden is going through the policy risk among the Affordable Care Act if a new justice is confirmed.

9:10 p.m.

Trump begins with arguing that elections have consequences. “We won the election. And therefore we have the right to choose her.”

9:07 p.m.

First topic is the Supreme Court.

9:05 p.m.

The debate officially starts with moderator Chris Wallace giving his introduction.

Pre-debate update 9:00 p.m.

Advice to the President? Former Gov. Chris Christie warned against personality attacks. “If we get into a personality back-and-forth, that’s not good for the president,” Christie said.

Pre-debate update 8:45 p.m.

 As noted below, there was a new story this weekend regarding Trump’s tax returns. Based on The New York Times reporting, Trump paid $750 for the years of 2016 and 2017. Biden responded by releasing his own 2019 tax returns along with his running mate Kamala Harris. It would be interesting to see if and/or when this topic comes up.

Pre-debate update 8:30 p.m.

 A quick electoral update before the debate. A Federal Appeals court upheld a six-day extension for counting ballots in Wisconsin meaning that ballots would have until six days after the election to arrive at the Board of Elections in order to be counted, according to Emma Kinery, a reporter for Bloomberg Business.


Hello and welcome to The Equinox’s first ever Live Blog. We are covering the first debate of the 2020 Presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic Candidate Joe Biden. My name is Johnathan Miller, I cover politics for The Equinox and I’ll be describing what happens in the debate at the home of Fairleigh Dickinson. The producer is Elizabeth Scalzo, Editor-in-Chief of The Equinox.

Tonight is the first debate in the 2020 election and the stakes could not be higher. The debate will be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,  with Chris Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday, as moderator. Wallace has also served as a moderator to the last presidential debate in 2016.

The debate will be 90 minutes long with no commercials. It is divided into six 15-minute topics: Trump and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, race and violence in cities, and the integrity of the elections. There will be plenty to talk about tonight including the newest revelations regarding Trump’s tax returns. 

The first debate is probably the most influential as “the first” although it is not clear how much this can shake up the race. Trump needs to close the gap to have a good shot of winning the electoral college. FiveThirtyEight Presidential model has Biden up with a 78% of winning. He is currently ahead nationally by 7.1 points and ahead in Pennsylvania, the state that has the greatest chance of deciding the presidency, by 5.4 points, after two polls showed Biden up there by 9 points among likely voters.

Heading into the debate, the stakes could not be higher. 

There are numerous outlets that will preview the debate. Here are some of the links to watch:




Johnathan Miller (Twitter: @JMiller_NJ) is a senior political science major from Lacey, N.J. He is glad to join the Equinox in covering the 2020 Presidential Election for students and to help students understand and participate in the political process.

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Tonight Democratic Nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump face off in the first Presidential debate for the 2020 election.