Donald Trump and Joe Biden began to fight Tuesday at the opening of their first debate in Cleveland, focusing their heated discussions on health insurance and COVID-19, in an electric atmosphere 35 days before the US presidential election .
“Everyone knows he’s a liar,” the Democratic candidate said of the Republican president, after less than fifteen minutes of televised duel watched by tens of millions of Americans.
As the cacophony prevailed, the former vice president then called on the 45th President of the United States to “shut it down.”
“There is nothing intelligent in you”, mocked, a little later, Donald Trump, who never ceases to question the physical and mental health of his rival and who hoped for a good evening or a misstep of his rival to catch up in the polls.
The Republican billionaire, who is running for a second term, has tried to accuse Joe Biden, from the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, of wanting a “socialist” health care system championed by the radical left.
The Democratic candidate denounced him the desire of the tenant of the White House to install a conservative judge on the Supreme Court just before the ballot on November 3. “What is at stake here is that the president has made it clear that he wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act,” the health insurance law better known as Obamacare, he said. he lamented.
“We should wait to see the result of this election,” pleaded the Democratic candidate, tie with thin black and white stripes.
“We won the ‘2016 election” and we have the right to do it, “said the ex-real estate mogul, a dark tie striped in red.
The two septuagenarian candidates then scrambled over the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the most bereaved country in the world with more than 205,000 dead.
“You could never have done the job that we did, you don’t have that in your blood,” said Donald Trump.
“I know what to do” while “the president has no plan,” Joe Biden replied.
Coronavirus is forcing, and as expected, the two did not shake hands but greeted each other from afar on the stage in Cleveland, Ohio, one of those key states that could tip the victory into a camp or the other on November 3.
They faced a small audience, with their wives, Melania Trump and Jill Biden, both in masks.
All day long, the climate was tense.
Atrium and stimulants
At Donald Trump, 74, it was implied that Joe Biden, 77, could use an earpiece during the evening.
Wrong, the Democratic camp replied – as it had already brushed aside the president’s request for a doping test on suspicion of the Democrat using stimulants.
Just before the debate, however, Joe Biden appeared to want to relieve the tension with a humorous tweet illustrated by a photo with iPhone headphones and a pot of ice cream. “It’s debate night so I’ve got my headset and my doping products ready,” he wrote.
His team assured that the presidential camp had asked the moderator of the debate Chris Wallace not to mention the death toll from COVID-19 (more than 205,000 in the United States).
“Lie”, one retorted on the Republican side.
The former Democratic vice president also released his 2019 tax slips to the public on Tuesday, a blow aimed directly at the White House tenant, weakened by explosive revelations about his fiscal situation and debt.
If their impact on the ballot often remains limited, these debates are highlights of the electoral campaign, since the first televised tête-à-tête organized 60 years ago in Chicago between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Everything separates the two septuagenarian candidates. The Republican billionaire ran once, in 2016, and created the biggest surprise in modern political history.
After entering politics half a century ago, Joe Biden, senator and then vice-president, hopes his third attempt for the White House (he had already run for the Democratic primaries in 1988 and 2008) will be the right one.
The fear of a blunder
The strength of the ex-Republican businessman? His ability to surprise, break codes, impose his own rules, his own style.
Joe Biden’s camp is based on his experience, his sense of empathy.
But the fear of a blunder haunts the Democratic camp, so used to this old political lion.
The other two presidential debates are scheduled for October 15 and 22, respectively in Miami, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Republican Vice President Mike Pence will face Joe Biden’s running mate, Senator and former prosecutor Kamala Harris, on October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
With Jerome Cartillier and Francesco Fontemaggi in Washington