Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden battled fiercely over Trump's leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and taxes in a fiery first debate on Tuesday marked by Trump's repeated interruptions for the first of three presidential debates in Cleveland, Ohio.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace moderated the event - he won praise for the Trump-Clinton debate in 2016.
With moderator Chris Wallace trying in vain at times to control the debate, the two White House contenders talked over each other and lobbed insults in a breathtaking political brawl that made it hard for either man to make a point.
Just 20 minutes into the debate, it turned into a chaos, as US President Trump repeatedly talked over former Vice President Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.
Trump persistently interrupted nearly every Biden answer on the Supreme Court and the candidates' health care plans, as well as Biden's rebuttals to Trump.
Exasperated, about 18 minutes in, Biden turned to Trump and said, "Will you shut up, man?"
Joe Biden attacked Trump over Covid saying, "7 Million Contracted Virus. President Has No Plan."
"It is a very political thing," Trump says on a coronavirus vaccine
Joe Biden calls Donald Trump a 'clown' as candidates spar in first debate.
"You're the worst president": Biden attacks Trump in fiery presidential debate.
Quotes from the first Trump-Biden debate
Here are some of the quotes making news at the first US 2020 presidential debate on Tuesday between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 election:
Trump, asked about whether Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be nominated to the Supreme Court before the election: "We won the election. Elections have consequences.
"We have the Senate and we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all.
"... I think that she (Barrett) will be outstanding. She will be as good as anybody who has ever served on that court. We won the election and therefore we had the right to choose her."
Biden: "We should wait, we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is."
Pivoting to the Affordable Care Act, Biden said, "I'm not opposed to the justice. She seems like a very fine person. But she's written ... that she thinks the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The president's made it clear he wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. He's been running on that."
Trump interjected, "As far as a say is concerned, the American people have already had their say. ... I'm not elected for 3-1/2 years."
Responded Biden: "He's elected until the next election. ... The election's already started."
Biden, told by Trump that he has adopted former Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders' "socialized medicine" proposals: "Everybody here knows he's a liar. ... You picked the wrong guy on the wrong night at the wrong time."
"... Folks, do you have any idea what this clown's doing? I tell you what, he is not for anybody needing healthcare."
After Trump explained his health proposal, Biden said, "He has no plan for healthcare. ... The fact is this man has no idea what he's talking about."
At another point, while being interrupted by Trump, Biden said, "Will you shut up, man. This is so unpresidential. ... Keep yapping, man."
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Biden to Trump: "You should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap and ... the golf course and go in the Oval Office and (put) together Democrats and Republicans, and fund what needs to be done now to save lives."
Trump to Biden: "You didn't think we should've closed our country (to China) because you thought it was terrible."
"... We've done a great job. But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we've done. You don't have it in your blood."
Trump on Biden's proposed approach to developing coronavirus vaccines: "People like this would rather make it political than save lives."
Biden: "Guess what, a lot of people died, and a lot more going to die unless he gets a lot smarter a lot quicker."
Responded Trump: "There's nothing smart about you, Joe.
Biden on Trump's mask policy: "He's a fool on this."
Biden, speaking of Trump: "This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division."
Trump to Biden, citing Biden's support for the 1994 crime bill: "You've treated the Black community about as bad as anybody in this country."
Biden: "Yes, there's a systemic injustice in this country in education and work and in law enforcement, and the way in which it is enforced."
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND URBAN UNREST
Trump: "The top 10 cities and just about the top 40 cities are run by Democrats in many cases, radical left, and they've got you wrapped around their finger, Joe, to a point where you don't want to say anything about law and order. And I'll tell you what the people of this country want and demand law and order, and you're afraid to even say it."
Biden said Trump had done nothing to calm down the protests. "He just pours gasoline on the fire."
Responding to Trump attacking him on the suburbs, Biden said: "He wouldn't know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn. I know suburbs."
Trump to Biden: "Name one law enforcement group that has come out and supported you. One. Think. We have time."
Biden: "Under this president, we've become weaker, sicker, more divided and more violent."
At one point, while being interrupted by Trump, Biden said: "Will you shut up, man. This is so unpresidential. ... Keep yapping, man."
Wallace to Trump: "I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I'm appealing to you sir to do that."
Trump, referring to Biden, responded: "And him, too."
Wallace: "Well, frankly you've been doing more interrupting."
Donald Trump and Joe Biden did not shake hands or wear masks as they entered their first White House debate on Tuesday, adhering to protocols on social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
The two candidates entered the stage at the same time and smiled as moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News explained they would not shake hands.
"How you doing, man?" Biden said, extending his arms towards Trump.
The 90-minute debate, with a limited and socially distanced in-person audience due to the pandemic, was held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
It was the first of three scheduled debates.
Organizers said there were about 80 people in the audience, including the candidates' family members, their guests, campaign staff, hosts, health and security officials and journalists.
Trump's guests included first lady Melania Trump, sons Eric and Donald Jr., daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and such allies as US Representative Jim Jordan and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Biden's wife Jill sat in Biden's section.
With more than a million Americans already casting early ballots and time running out to change minds or influence the small sliver of undecided voters, the stakes were enormous as the two White House candidates took the stage five weeks before the November 3 election.
Biden, 77, has held a consistent lead over Trump, 74, in national opinion polls, although surveys in the battleground states that will decide the election show a closer contest.
Here are takeaways from the Tuesday night matchup:
Presidential candidates invite guests to debates with a calculated purpose: to emphasize a core campaign theme.
Ann Dorn, whose retired police officer husband was killed amid anti-racism protests in St. Louis in June, is among Trump's guests, a month after appearing in a video on his behalf at the Republican National Convention. Trump has hammered away at a "law-and-order" message in response to widespread civil unrest over police brutality and racism and accused Democrats of failing to support law enforcement.
Another Trump guest is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who played an integral role in trying to find dirt on Biden's son Hunter and his business dealings in Ukraine. Although the effort helped lead to Trump's impeachment, Giuliani's presence lends credence to reports that Trump intends to attack Hunter Biden anew at the debate.
Biden's guests include Kristin Urquiza, whose father, a Trump supporter, died of the coronavirus after dismissing its deadliness. The former vice president has sought as much as possible to turn the campaign into a referendum on Trump, and specifically on his handling of the outbreak, which has killed more than 205,000 Americans.
Biden's other guests included two local residents: Gurnee Green, a small-business owner, and James Evanoff, a steelworkers union member, who both represent the working families Biden is fighting for, his campaign said.
Here is a look at some of the vast differences on healthcare policy between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden:
Trump has ceded much of the response to the pandemic to the states, rather than pursuing a national effort to expand testing, coordinate contact tracing and acquire protective equipment in bulk. He has also sent mixed messages on masks, which public health experts have said are crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.
Since the spring, Trump has pressed governors to reopen their states and has called on public schools to return to in-person instruction, arguing that the "cure cannot be worse than the disease." He has often downplayed the deadliness of the virus and at times publicly undermined his administration's own experts.
Trump signed into law several relief bills that have delivered trillions of dollars to individuals and businesses, though congressional Democrats have demanded more spending. The administration also launched "Operation Warp Speed," an effort to support development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Biden has vowed to "listen to the science," even saying he would consider another national economic shutdown if experts recommend it. He has called for a national mask standard, though he has acknowledged he may not have the authority to mandate their use.
His coronavirus plan calls for scaling up testing and contact tracing and promises to appoint a "supply commander" to oversee supply lines of critical equipment.
Biden has also proposed reopening insurance marketplaces for people who lost coverage through their jobs, expanding paid sick leave, and increasing pay for frontline workers. He has questioned whether Trump may try to politicize the vaccine process to boost his own re-election chances.
After years of failed attempts by Republican lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump has turned to other tools to undermine the sweeping healthcare law: executive power and the courts.
The Justice Department is backing a lawsuit brought by several Republican-led states seeking to overturn the entire ACA, a case the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear on Nov. 10 - one week after Election Day.
Justice Ginsburg's death has deepened concerns among Democrats that the court, which previously upheld the law 5-4 in 2012, might rule against the ACA. Under the law, more than 20 million Americans have gained insurance coverage.
The Trump administration has not proposed a comprehensive replacement, despite Trump's vow to deliver a better, less-costly healthcare system. On Thursday, he signed two executive orders as part of what he called the "America First" healthcare plan, though they were seen as largely symbolic.
The Republican-backed 2017 tax overhaul bill eliminated the ACA's individual mandate, which required most people to maintain insurance or face a penalty. Experts say the move increased premiums.
In addition, Trump has used executive power to boost short-term plans, which are exempt from the ACA's requirement to cover basic benefits and guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration also cut funding for staff and advertising intended to help people navigate the ACA marketplaces, where individuals can purchase private insurance, often with the help of government subsidies.
Biden has vowed to bolster the law, which was enacted during his first four-year term as Obama's vice president. His own healthcare plan would cost $750 billion over 10 years and would be financed by raising taxes on the wealthy, according to his campaign.
Unlike some liberals, Biden does not support a single-payer system like Medicare for All.
Instead, Biden's plan calls for a Medicare-like public option that would serve as an alternative, not a replacement, for private insurance.
In addition, several million people who are uninsured because they live in one of the 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid - which provides coverage for low-income Americans - under the ACA would automatically be enrolled in the public option. He also has proposed expanding the subsidies available on the ACA marketplaces and capping cost increases.
Trump has repeatedly said he will protect those with pre-existing conditions despite his administration's effort to gut the ACA.
On Thursday, he signed an executive order intended to maintain insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA. But health experts immediately said the order had little practical import.
"The executive order has no specific policy to protect people with pre-existing conditions, nor does it even have a path to such a policy," said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. "This is more of a pinky promise than a plan."
Trump's rhetoric has been more hawkish on prescription drug prices than that of most Republicans, but his results have been uneven.
He signed an executive order in early September aimed at setting Medicare prices for prescription drugs based on the cost in other countries, where prices are often lower. But experts say the order alone does not set policy; implementing the change will require a lengthy rulemaking process that would likely be challenged in court by drugmakers.
Both Biden and Trump support some form of importing prescription drugs from foreign countries to lower costs, though some experts have questioned whether doing so is feasible.
Trump also vowed on Thursday to deliver $200 cards to 33 million seniors to help pay for prescriptions, though it was not immediately clear where he would get the $6.6 billion without congressional approval.
Biden supports a bill approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last year that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as private insurers do.
Republicans, backed by the pharmaceutical industry, have argued it would force drugmakers to spend less on research and development, and the Trump administration has said it would veto the bill.
In April, Biden proposed lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60, a move aimed at appealing to liberal voters. Such a change would potentially extend Medicare to some 20 million more Americans.
Trump has proposed several budgets that include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid spending. The Medicare reductions would not affect benefits but would instead change how providers are paid, according to Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert at Kaiser.
The administration has supported imposing work requirements and other limitations on Medicaid eligibility, as well as installing caps on Medicaid spending growth and converting Medicaid to block grants - all moves that experts say would result in fewer people covered.