For their first televised conversation Tuesday, Frontrunner Joe Biden and a politically weakened Donald Trump took the stage in
Cleveland, watched by a profoundly divided country 35 days ahead of the most tense US election in recent memory.
As the two men took the stage, there was no handshake and although this was due to constraints on Covid-19,
the absence of the conventional greeting symbolized the animosity that engulfed the nation in the final countdown to November 3.
The friction was tangible, interrupting each other, from the opening
debates over healthcare, where Trump accused Biden of being a “socialist.”
But the barbs were flying before they had
appeared for the first of three 90-minute TV showdowns.
Biden, hoping to eat into the vital support of Trump among blue collar voters, capitalized on bombshell
reports that for years, the billionaire Trump has managed to avoid paying almost every federal income tax.
And Trump, facing the possibility of being made a one-term president, advanced a conspiracy theory claiming
that his opponent wants drug-enhancing results and should wear an earpiece during the debate to get answers.
Biden was looking to zoom in on public frustration with Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which
has killed more than 200,000 Americans, with an impressive lead both in national and swing state polls.
The Democrat was also supposed to hammer away at the New York Times exposing the tax evasion of Trump, claiming that this
indicates that when he tries to champion what he calls “the forgotten men and women,” the billionaire real estate mogul is a fraud.
Biden, 77, tweeted just before the debate, referring to his hard-core boyhood home
in Pennsylvania and Trump’s glittering Manhattan past, “This election is Scranton vs. Park Avenue.”.
Trump, who by refusing to disclose his tax returns broke long-standing presidential openness, allegedly used
loopholes to pay just $750 in federal tax during the first year of his presidency.
Biden issued his own tax
returns hours before the debate.
In the meantime, Trump leaned into his lurid narrative
that the Democratic challenger is senile and needs drug tests.
And Tim Murtaugh, director of his campaign communications, escalated a recent slur circulated on
social media that Biden was accused of trying to cheat while wearing an earpiece.
But Biden reacted humorously right
before going into the debate, tweeting: “It’s debate night, so I’ve got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready.”
Underneath was a shot of normal headphones and a bowl
of “salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks” of Jeni’s ice cream.
A senior official on Air Force One told reporters when he arrived
in Cleveland ahead of the debate that Trump, 74, was “good to go.”
The official said that Trump was bringing as guests former New York mayor
Rudy Giuliani, now a notorious president’s lawyer, and mixed martial arts champion Colby Covington.
Giuliani, who, on Trump’s behalf, led shadowy attempts to find dirt on
Biden’s son’s activities in Ukraine, was straightforward about what his client should do.
He doesn’t have to hold back,
“Giuliani was quoted by Politico as saying.”
“Biden, I think, is an ugly enough guy that you don’t
have to worry about, you know, being too careful with him.”
While Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, that was sure to translate to Trump attempting
to corner Biden over the lucrative job his son Hunter took with a Ukrainian energy firm.
While the agreement posed ethical concerns, there was no proof of the Bidens’ direct misconduct, and
Trump’s efforts to prove otherwise saw him impeached for abuse of office by Congress last year.
The trump card
of the Supreme Court
Trump also went to Cleveland for what he hopes would be a magic bullet, his appointment to
replace the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court by conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
If Barrett is easily approved, Trump will have turned the highest court
squarely to the right for years to come, as the Republican-led Senate predicts.
Democrats are crying foul over the hasty timing, but
Trump expects conservatives to be energized by the power play.
Source: THE GUARDIAN NEWS