First Presidential Debate Recap


A picture of both of the candidates during the Presidential Debate on September 29th.

Karina Shah, Photojournalist

On Tuesday, September 29th, the first presidential debate of the 2020 presidential race took place. Danielle Huizar (11), says, “ It was such a meaningful debate because the world is in crisis right now.” The two candidates were President Donald Trump for the Republican Party and former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic Party. The moderator, the person who asks the questions, controls the candidates, and gives the time limits per each section of discussion, was Fox News’ Chris Wallace. 


Wallace came up with six main topics to present: the Supreme Court, coronavirus (COVID-19), the economy, racial injustice, the records of both candidates, and the integrity of the election itself. The moderator presented each topic with subquestions. From there, each candidate had two minutes to give their answer followed by a period of open discussion. 


To start, the debate began with the Supreme Court. They first discussed the topic of the Supreme Court position that has opened following the unfortunate passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Trump has nominated conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat. However, Biden feels that because the election is already in process, the people will not have a true say in who fills the court seat and wants to wait until after the election. He also mentioned that Barrett would reverse women’s rights fundamentally because she puts Roe v. Wade at stake and Trump would be able to remove the Affordable Care Act. 


Next, they discussed the extremely current issue of the pandemic. Trump, as the president during the pandemic, blames China for the spread of the virus. He also mentioned that he wants the entire country to reopen, including the democratic states which he claims are only shut down because they want to wait until after the election. Finally, he stated that he believes masks are effective, but he only will wear them when truly necessary. Contrary to Trump, Biden blames the president for the spread of the virus due to his inability to take proper action soon enough and downplaying the severity of the virus to the public until it was too late. Biden says he believes that masks are always necessary to slow and stop the spread of the virus and condemned Trump for holding large rallies. 


The economy was the next topic that was discussed. Trump wants to lower taxes and talked about the jobs he added to the economy during his presidency. He also said that the economy had “the slowest economic recovery since 1929.”, which was fact-checked as false ( Biden talked about the Obama administration leaving a booming economy for Trump and that is why he was able to add all of those jobs. He also mentioned that Trump ruined that economy with his response to COVID-19. Finally, Biden wants to increase taxes for the large corporations that had previously had a tax cut from President Trump. This would add over $4 trillion to American after a decade.


Race and violence was arguably the most detrimental topic of the night. To start off, Trump began to blame leftist groups for violence. He talked about ending racial sensitivity training because it is “teaching people to hate our country.” From there Biden talked about the tragedies that are facing African Americans who are dying because of coronavirus cases being at higher rates than any other community. Contrary to Trump, Biden supports racial sensitivity training because people need to be aware of the racism that is rooted in America. Finally, the biggest issue of the night was when the moderator asked Trump to condemn the white supremacists in the country and President Trump did not. This caused a large media uproar after the debate because one of the most famous white supremacist groups used his words as their new catchphrase. 


The topic of Trump and Biden’s records was next from Wallace. Recently, Trump’s taxes got released showing that he paid only $750 dollars. He claims he paid “millions and millions” but this was fact-checked false ( The environmental protection plan that Trump withdrew the United States from was also brought up and Trump supported his decision because he believes it would cost too much money and effort to support climate change and global warming. Biden believes that the environment is important to protect and believes that we should get the country to net-zero emissions in terms of energy production, rejoin the Paris Accord, and introduce a new plan with the framework of the Green New Deal. Biden also was the one to confront Trump about his taxes and defended his son after Trump attacked Biden’s son calling him a “loser”.


Finally, the integrity of the election ended the night’s discussion. Trump believes that mail-in voting will cause inconsistencies in the election outcome, causing the election to be a fraud. Evidence of this has already been seen when trashed votes have been found not only in this election ( He wants in-person voting to be the only method of voting this year. Biden believes that in-person voting is not safe because of the Coronavirus and the mail-in ballots are safe because even Trump’s “own homeland security director, and as well as the FBI director says there is no evidence at all that mail-in ballots are a source of being manipulated or cheated.” This was fact-checked as true ( Both candidates ended the night by agreeing that they will not announce victory until it is official, since it is likely the winner will not be announced until the day after the election.