Biden and Trump.. The most prominent statements in the “historic” debate

The first debate between US President Joe Biden and his Republican rival, Donald Trump, concluded on CNN from a studio in Atlanta without an audience, as it witnessed the presidential candidates addressing several points related to US domestic and foreign policies.

The topics discussed ranged from the American economy to immigration and abortion issues, to the war on Ukraine and the war that Israel is witnessing with Hamas in Gaza.

The two men headed to stand behind their podiums without shaking hands, to begin their first debate that could be a turning point in the 2024 presidential elections.

American economy

The debate began with questions related to the US presidential candidates’ views on improving economic conditions.

US President Biden said that his administration took over “an economy that was on the verge of collapse” from the Trump administration, as unemployment was high, and his “administration put things back in order” for the economy by creating new job opportunities, especially in the industrial sector.

He stressed that the economic policies of his administration emphasized that companies would not harm consumers, noting that what was happening in the previous administration was “chaos,” and for example, the prices of medicines such as insulin were reduced.

Biden accused Trump’s policies of focusing on the wealthy, and that during his reign, the deficit and debt increased to the highest level in American history. He criticized the tax cut for the wealthy only, noting that there are a large number of them who pay only 8 percent in taxes.

For his part, former President Trump responded that his administration had handed the Biden administration “the greatest economy in American history despite the Corona pandemic,” stressing that the expansion in spending was necessary to avoid a recession.

He added that during his administration, the financial market was at its best, and the jobs that Biden praises were created for immigrants, not for Americans.

Trump defended the policies of setting customs duties, stressing that this would provide money to reduce the deficit and give strength to the American economy, and even tax exemptions would stimulate companies.

Later in the debate, Biden and Trump exchanged accusations again regarding the state of the American economy, and the latter said that “Biden caused inflation and affected families of African origin.”

He added that his administration delivered, “The United States is in a perfect state, but he destroyed it, caused inflation, harmed African Americans, and opened the borders to immigrants who took their jobs.”

Trump said Biden “hasn’t done a good job. He’s done a bad job. And inflation is killing our country. It’s killing us.”

For his part, Biden responded that “there was no inflation and no jobs because he (Trump) destroyed the economy.”

“We have provided financial assistance to families, and he has tried more than once to eliminate health care programs,” he continued.

Russian war on Ukraine

Trump accused Biden’s administration of being the worst in American history

Trump criticized Biden’s policies towards the Ukraine war, and said: “If there was a real president whom (Russian President Vladimir) Putin respects, Putin would not have invaded Ukraine.”

“Biden was bad in Afghanistan, and Putin saw that and saw the incompetence,” he added. “And when Putin saw that, he said he would go and invade Ukraine, that’s his dream.”

He stressed that “Putin’s conditions are unacceptable, but the war should not have started,” and Biden gave “200 billion dollars to Ukraine,” describing the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as “the best seller” because “every time he comes to Washington, he gets billions.”

“You shouldn’t have spent these billions,” he told Biden, adding that the war “will be over before he takes office.”

For his part, Biden responded that his administration had airlifted “over 100,000 and others out of Afghanistan,” and that what was happening in Ukraine was “Trump encouraging Putin to do whatever he wanted.”

“Putin wanted to take control of Kiev in days, but he couldn’t and lost thousands,” he said.

Biden described Putin as “a war criminal who killed thousands. He wants to restore the Soviet empire. He will not stop at Ukraine. If he succeeds in the war, he will continue to other countries.”

Trump stressed that Putin’s conditions for resolving the Ukrainian issue are “unacceptable.”

The war between Hamas and Israel

Trump criticized Biden’s policies that he claimed caused the October 7 attack, and said his previous administration had dried up all revenue for Tehran, making it unable to support Hamas or any militant groups in the region.

For his part, Biden said that during the Trump era, Iran attacked hundreds of American soldiers and caused them injuries.

He added, “The Security Council, the G7 and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to a proposed three-stage plan…and Hamas wants the war to continue.”

He noted that he was “pushing hard to get Hamas to agree to the plan,” and Biden defended his decision to suspend the delivery of 2,000-ton (more than 900 kg) bombs, because they are difficult to use in populated areas.

He stressed that the United States is Israel’s biggest supporter, noting that Hamas has been “weakened” and “we must eliminate” the movement.

Trump responded by saying, “Biden says Hamas doesn’t want a ceasefire, but Israel doesn’t want a ceasefire, they have to end it.”

Trump described Biden as a “bad Palestinian,” referring to the US president’s support for the Palestinians at the expense of Israel, as he put it.

CNN’s debate was moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Trump did not answer a question about whether he would support an independent Palestinian state to end the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Bash asked, “Would you support the creation of an independent Palestinian state in order to support peace in the region?” The former president replied, “I will have to see” the situation then, before moving on to talk about trade agreements with European countries, according to “CNN“.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Although the candidates agreed on the need to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, Trump described Biden’s withdrawal of US forces as “the most embarrassing in American history”, and that it was “the most embarrassing day in the life of the United States.”

“I would get out of Afghanistan, but with dignity, determination and strength,” Trump said.

Biden said that when he took office, “they were still being killed in Afghanistan, and (Trump) did nothing about it,” meaning American soldiers there.

Biden claimed that he is the only US president this decade who has not “killed a single soldier anywhere in the world like he did,” referring to Trump.

During the American withdrawal in the summer of 2021, 125,000 people, including 6,000 Americans, were evacuated via an air bridge, but during the time of the evacuations, a terrorist belonging to the same ISIS organization blew up among crowds of people in the vicinity of the airport while they were trying to escape on August 26, 2021. The explosion resulted in 183 people were killed, including 13 American soldiers who were securing the airport during the withdrawal of their country’s forces, more than 20 years after its invasion of Afghanistan, according to what CNN reported, which corrected Biden’s statement.

Concerns about age

Biden confirms that his age does not constitute an obstacle to renewing his candidacy in the elections

Concerns have been raised according to several polls about the age of the presidential candidates, the current Democratic President, Biden, who is over 80 years old, and Trump, who is 78 years old.

On the issue of President Biden’s age, he said, “I have been criticizing him for days when I was the youngest in the Senate. Now I am the oldest, and Trump is only three years younger than me, but he has not achieved what I have achieved in my administration.”

He added that Trump says “we are a failed state” but “we are the largest and most powerful country in the world, and all allies trust us.”

For his part, Trump responded that he had conducted two cognitive tests and a physical examination and said, “I won two golf tournaments, and he cannot do that,” challenging President Biden to a golf match and wishing that the American president would conduct examinations like him.

Biden responded that he was willing to play golf when he was vice president during the Obama administration.

The upcoming US elections…and accepting their results

In response to a question about whether the former president would support the results of the upcoming presidential election, Trump expressed his willingness to accept the results of the election “if they are free, fair, and legal,” noting that the “fraud” in the previous election was “ridiculous.”

He added that it would have been easier for him not to run for office “if we had a great president, there would be no reason for me to run,” noting that he had to run “to fix what Biden broke” and that he was subject to conviction by virtue of being a former president, considering his criminal conviction “political.”

For his part, Biden questioned Trump’s statement, and said: “I doubt that you will agree with the election results,” adding that “when he lost the first time, he filed cases throughout the United States, which did not succeed.”

He continued that Trump continued “to lie about stealing the election.”

Trump stressed that he wants to “make America a great country again,” as it is “a failed state because of Biden’s military policies,” warning that the current president “will push the country into World War III.”

“The United States is in a bad position, Ukraine is not winning the war now, and has lost many of its cities,” he said.

Biden responded that “if you want World War III,” let Trump win to encourage Putin to continue and take the conflict to other countries.

He added, “We are an important and essential country, and we need America to protect the world.”

Immigration

The microphone will open to the speaker only.

Trump criticized the Biden administration on immigration and border issues, saying, “We now have the worst border ever.”

“During my presidency, the borders in our country were the best in history,” he added, noting that opening the borders allowed the entry of millions of immigrants coming from prisons or even psychiatric hospitals.

Biden, for his part, accused Trump of “exaggerating” and “lying” about the immigration crisis in the United States.

Immigration is a major issue in the presidential campaign. “There is no data to back up what he’s saying,” Biden said. “He’s exaggerating again, he’s lying.”

Former President Trump linked the rise in crime in the United States with the entry of more immigrants, and said, “They are killing our people in New York, California, and every state… because we no longer have borders.”

He blamed Biden for what he called the “Biden crime of immigrants,” noting that they are killing Americans “at a level we have never seen before.”

Biden denied the allegations, saying the crimes were being committed by people outside the immigration system, and criticized the previous administration’s policies that caused what he called a “crisis at the border,” noting that he worked hard to reach a bipartisan agreement in Congress.

Biden said: “We found ourselves in a situation when (Trump) was president, he was separating children from their mothers, putting them in cages, and making sure they were separated from families… This is not the right way to move forward.”

Trump responded by saying, “The American border was the safest in history at the end of his administration.”

Opioid crisis

The two candidates were asked what they could do to help Americans combat the opioid crisis in the United States.

Trump said that during his presidency there was “great equipment” and drug-sniffing dogs available to find illegal substances at the border.

Biden, in turn, said the United States needs “equipment that can detect fentanyl.”

He added that the United States is pressing “very aggressively” on countries in Asia that produce fentanyl.

Abortion

Biden criticized his predecessor Trump for his “horrible” actions against abortion rights, while Trump praised the repeal of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion available across US states, leaving each state to decide whether to allow or prohibit termination of pregnancy.

The Democratic president told his Republican opponent during their debate in Atlanta, “What you did is a terrible thing.”

For his part, Trump said that the judges he appointed during his presidency were able to prevent abortion, insisting that “the different states have the right regarding the issue of abortion and the decisions that must be made.”

Trump accused Biden and the Democrats of killing children, and stated that the Roe v. Wade law allowed termination of pregnancy in the ninth month, but Biden interrupted him, saying that this was a false claim and that the law did not reflect that at all.

The debate took place in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the states likely to have an impact on the election.

Biden appeared on the podium on the right side of the viewers’ screens, and began speaking first based on a coin toss.

Campaign members could not communicate with the candidates during the two breaks, and there was no audience.

CNN said only Biden and Trump met its criteria to participate in the debate: winning enough state votes to make it likely that one of them would win the presidency and receiving at least 15 percent in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did not meet the requirements.

According to CNN, prior to Thursday’s debate, which lasted about 90 minutes, the two candidates appeared on one platform and were given a pen, paper, and a bottle of water, but no pre-written notes were allowed in front of them.

The network stated that “microphones were muted throughout the debate, except for the candidate’s microphone, who will be speaking,” and that the moderator will “use all tools available to him to ensure adherence to time and ensure a civil discussion,” which is what actually happened.

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