WASHINGTON (AP) — After more than a year of circling each other, Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden met on the debate stage Tuesday night in Ohio.
The 74-year-old president and the 77-year-old former vice president are similar in age, and they share a mutual dislike. But they differ starkly in style and substance. All of that was evident from the outset on the Cleveland stage.
There were heated clashes over the president’s handling of the pandemic, the integrity of the election results, pointed comments about Biden’s family and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.
Trump criticized Biden over the former vice president’s refusal to comment on whether he would try to expand the Supreme Court in retaliation if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Biden attacked Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying that the president “waited and waited” to act when the virus reached America’s shores and “still doesn’t have a plan.”
It’s unclear whether the debate will do much to change the dynamics of the campaign, which have been remarkably stable for weeks.