NewsHeated Biden-Trump debate covers economy, abortion and Ukraine war

Heated Biden-Trump debate covers economy, abortion and Ukraine war

Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in the first debate ahead of the November elections
Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in the first debate ahead of the November elections
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 Getty Images
Radosław Opas

28 June 2024 09:32

U.S. President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, faced off in their first debate before the November elections. There was no shortage of tensions and sharp exchanges. Emotions ran high over the topic of the war in Ukraine, which was mentioned during the discussion.

Thursday's debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on CNN marked a crucial phase of the campaign for the November presidential elections in the United States. The clash began at 2:00 a.m. GMT and took place without an audience.

The first topic discussed was the economy. During his presidency, Biden was criticised for the economic situation in the U.S., with Americans grappling with high inflation and rising living costs.

When asked what he would say to those who believe that the U.S. economy is worse off under his leadership, Biden stated that Donald Trump is to blame for the current state.

"Well, let's take a look at what I was left when I became president and what Mr. Trump left me. The economy collapsed. No jobs. Unemployment rate rose to 15%. It was terrible. The combination of what I was left with and corporate greed is the reason why we're in this problem now," the current U.S. leader argued.

Trump immediately reacted. "We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have never done so well. Everybody was amazed by it. Other countries were copying us. We got hit with COVID, and when we did, we spent the money necessary so we wouldn't end up in a great depression, the likes of which we had in 1929," the Republican leader said. Summarising Biden's presidency, Trump stated that the president did a "poor job." The inflation is "killing" the U.S.

"And I will tell you, not only poor there, but throughout the entire world, we’re no longer respected as a country. They don’t respect our leadership. They don’t respect the United States anymore," Trump added.

Trump criticised: "What you did was horrible"

After the economy, the debate moderators asked the candidates about abortion rights. In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the American Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion, and the matter of abortion regulation lies in the hands of state governments. The Court thus overturned the legal status that had been in place since 1973 and the precedent decision in the case of Roe v. Wade.

"It’s been a terrible thing, what you’ve done," Joe Biden assessed, reminding that under Donald Trump's administration, three conservative justices were appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Biden vowed to restore the legal status before the ruling overturned the famous Roe vs. Wade decision.

"Some people, you have to follow your heart, some people don’t believe in that. But I believe in the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I think it’s very important. Some people don’t. Follow your heart. But you have to get elected also and – because that has to do with other things. You’ve got to get elected," Trump stated.

Biden warns of Putin

The candidates also discussed the war in Ukraine. "If we had a real president, a president that knew – that was respected by Putin, he would have never – he would have never invaded Ukraine," Trump argued.

Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to continue funding Ukraine and recently authorized Kyiv to use U.S.-manufactured weapons to strike targets on Russian territory. Asked about Trump's comments, he replied: "I've never heard so much 'malarkey' in my whole life."

The U.S. president said that if the United States stopped supporting Ukraine, Putin's forces would not stop at Kyiv. "Go ahead, let Putin go in and control Ukraine, and then move on to Poland and other places. See what happens then." Biden asked. Trump stated that Putin's terms for ending the war in Ukraine were unacceptable while simultaneously assuring that he would bring an end to the conflict before taking office.

The topic of the Israel-Hamas war returns

The next point of debate was the Middle East conflict and the Israel-Hamas war. "We saved Israel," Biden pointed out, referring to the continuous support the United States provides to Israel.

Donald Trump criticised the way his opponent is handling the crisis in the Middle East. "He doesn’t want to do it. He’s become like a Palestinian. But they don’t like him because he’s a very bad Palestinian. He’s a weak one," he said.

"Pretty clear that we are witnessing the worst presidential debate on style and substance in the history of our nation tonight," commented MSNBC American television analyst Tim Miller.

At the end of the debate, both candidates were asked about their age and how they would govern the country in a few years if they won the election. Biden said that for half of his career, he had been criticised for being "the youngest person in politics," noting that he was the second youngest person elected to the Senate in history.

Biden pointed out that Trump is only three years younger than him, adding that he is "much less competent." Donald Trump stated that he is in "very good health" and recently won two club championships in golf.

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