Joe Biden in First 2020 Presidential Debate


On Civil Rights: Ran for president after Trump's response to Charlottesville

Q: Why should voters trust you rather than your opponent to deal with the race issues facing this country over the next four years?

BIDEN: It's about equity and equality. It's about decency. It's about the Constitution. We have never walked away from trying to require equity for everyone, equality for the whole of America. We've never walked away from it like he has done. It is true, the reason I got in the race is when those people. Close your eyes, remember what those people look like coming out of the fields, carrying torches, their veins bulging, just spewing anti-Semitic bile and accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. A young woman got killed and they asked the president what he thought. He said, "There were very fine people on both sides." No president's ever said anything like that. This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle, to try to generate racist hatred, racist division.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Civil Rights: There's systemic injustice, will bring people together

Q: Do you believe that there is a separate but unequal system of justice for Blacks in this country?

BIDEN: Yes, there is. There's systemic injustice in this country, in education and work and in law enforcement and the way in which it's enforced. But look, the vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women. They risk their lives every day to take care of us, but there are some bad apples. And when they occur, when they find them, they have to be sorted out. They have to be held accountable. What I'm going to do as President of the United States is call together an entire group of people at the White House, everything from the civil rights groups, to the police officers, to the police chiefs, and we're going to work this out.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Civil Rights: Suburbs are by and large integrated

I was raised in the suburbs. This is not 1950. All these dog whistles and racism don't work anymore. Suburbs are by-and-large integrated. More people today drive their kids to soccer practice--black & white & Hispanic in the same car--as any time in the past.

What really is a threat to the suburbs is [Trump's] failure to deal with COVID. His failure to deal with the environment; they're being flooded, & burned out, because his refusal to do anything. That's why the suburbs are in trouble.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Civil Rights: This is Trump's America: Proud Boys over Antifa

The Proud Boys pledged allegiance to Trump after he told the group to "stand back and stand by" during the first presidential debate. Trump was asked to disavow white supremacy. But Trump did not denounce any far-right group, pivoting to talk about Antifa, a left-wing organization.

The Proud Boys, a self-described "Western chauvinist" organization, is considered a violent, nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic hate group, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremist groups. Proud Boys members marched at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and have organized against Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

Biden commented on the Proud Boys reaction, responding to a journalist who tweeted out a screenshot of the group celebrating the mention. "This. This is Donald Trump's America," Biden tweeted.

Source: NBC News Fact-Check˙on First 2020 Presidential Debate Sep 29, 2020

On Crime: Violent protestors should be prosecuted

Q: What about ongoing violent BLM protests?

BIDEN: There's systemic injustice in this country. [But] violence in response is never appropriate. Peaceful protest is; violence is never appropriate.

Q: Protests have turned violent in Portland, Oregon, especially. You talk about peaceful protests. Many of those turned into riots. You say that people who commit crimes should be held accountable. Have you ever called the Mayor of Portland or the Governor of Oregon and said, "Hey, you got to stop this, bring in the National Guard, do whatever it takes, but you'd stop the days and months of violence in Portland?"

BIDEN: I don't hold public office. But I've made it clear in my public statements that the violence should be prosecuted. It should be prosecuted and anyone who committed it should be prosecuted.

Q: But you've never called the leaders in Portland and in Oregon?

BIDEN: They can in fact take care of it if [Trump would] just stay out of the way.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Crime: Reimagine policing: I totally oppose defunding police

Q: You talked about "re-imagining policing." What does that mean, and do you support the Black Lives Matter call for community control of policing?

BIDEN: We have to have community policing like we had before where the officers get to know the people in the communities. That's when crime went down.

TRUMP: That's not what it is about. He's talking about defunding the police.

BIDEN: I'm totally opposed to defunding the police offices. [Trump's] budget calls for a $400 million cut in local law enforcement assistance. They need more assistance; when they show up for a 9-11 call to have someone with them as a psychologist to keep them from having to use force.

TRUMP: He doesn't have any law support. He has no law enforcement.

BIDEN: That's not true.

TRUMP: He has almost nothing.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Crime: Violence is never appropriate response to police violence

BIDEN: Cops aren't happy to see what happened to George Floyd. Cops aren't happy to see what happened to Breonna Taylor. Most don't like it. We have to have a system where people are held accountable. Violence in response is never appropriate. Peaceful protest is, violence is never appropriate.

TRUMP: What is peaceful protest? When they run through town and burn down your stores and kill people all over the place--

BIDEN: That is not peaceful protest.

TRUMP: No, it's not, but you say it is.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Crime: FactCheck: Endorsed by 175 law enforcement officials

Trump said to Biden, "We just got the support of almost every law enforcement group in the United States. I don't think you have any law enforcement."

Is that true, that no law enforcement has endorsed Biden? We found this article dated Sept. 4 on Fox News, headlined "More than 175 current, former law enforcement officials endorse Joe Biden, slam Trump as 'lawless' president." Excerpts:

"Fox News first obtained the list of the Biden-supporting law enforcement officials, which includes former sheriffs and former police chiefs who touted the former vice president's experience 'keeping communities safe.'

"The endorsements come after a number of high-profile law enforcement organizations threw their support behind Trump. In July, the National Association of Police Organizations endorsed Trump, praising his 'steadfast and very public support' for law enforcement. NAPO did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 election but endorsed Barack Obama and Biden in both the 2008 and 2012 elections."

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on First 2020 Presidential Debate Sep 29, 2020

On Education: FactCheck: Attended U.Delaware, not Delaware State HBCU

Trump said to Biden, "You said you went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn't go to Delaware State." Is that true? OnTheIssues found this article from the Wilmington (DE) News-Journal:

"No, Joe Biden did not say he attended Delaware State University, the only historically Black university (HBCU) in the state. Biden said he got his "start" at DSU, and what followed was a slew of media reports slamming Biden for claiming to have attended an HBCU. Trump's campaign has even cited the claim as one of the "17 questions Joe Biden must answer" in the first presidential debate.

"In the video, Biden was referring to the support he received from the school when he announced his bid for Senate on the DSU campus in 1972. In the decades since, Biden has maintained close ties with DSU, serving as commencement speaker in 2003. Biden has often referenced to his time as a student at the University of Delaware, where the Biden School of Public Policy bears his name."

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on First 2020 Presidential Debate Sep 29, 2020

On Energy & Oil: No one's building another coal- or gas-fired power plant

BIDEN: During our administration in the Recovery Act, I was in charge for bringing down the cost of renewable energy to as cheap as coal and gas and oil. Nobody's going to build another coal fired plant in America. No one's going to build another oil fire plant in America. They're going to move to renewable energy.

We're going to take the federal fleet and turn it into a fleet of electric vehicles. Making sure that we can do that, we're going to put 500,000 charging stations in all of the highways that we're going to be building in the future.

We're going to build an economy with the ability to take 4 million buildings and make sure that they are weatherized in a way that they'll emit significantly less gas and oil because the heat will not be going out.

There's so many things that we can do now to create thousands and thousands of jobs. We can get to net zero, in terms of energy production, by 2035. Not only not costing people jobs, but creating millions of good-paying jobs.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Energy & Oil: I support the Biden Plan, not the Green New Deal

Q: What about the argument that Pres. Trump basically says, that you have to balance environmental interests and economic interests?

BIDEN: This is a guy who says that you don't have to have mileage standards for automobiles that exist now.

TRUMP: Not true.

BIDEN: It's all true. And here's the deal--

TRUMP: He's talking about the Green New Deal.

BIDEN: I'm talking about the Biden plan.

Q: Is it going to cost a lot of money and hurt the economy?

BIDEN: What it's going to do, it's going to create millions of jobs.

TRUMP: This is a 100 trillion dollars.

BIDEN: The fact is, it's going to create millions of good paying jobs, and these tax incentives for people to weatherize, is going to make the economy much safer. Look how much we're paying now to deal with the hurricanes. We're going to be in a position where we can create good jobs by making sure the environment is clean, and we all are in better shape. We spend billions of dollars now, on floods, hurricanes, rising seas.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Government Reform: Mail voting works for military; should work for civilians

We count the ballots. Some of these ballots in some states can't even be opened until election day. If there's thousands of ballots, it's going to take time to do it. Our military. they've been voting by ballots since the end of the Civil War. Why is it, for them, somehow not fraudulent? It's the same process. It's honest. No one has established at all that there is fraud related to mail-in ballots. The fact is, I will accept it, and he will too. You know why? Because once the winner is declared after all the ballots are counted, all the votes are counted, that'll be the end of it. That'll be the end of it. And if it's me, in fact, fine. If it's not me, I'll support the outcome.
Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Government Reform: Vote, vote, vote; then Trump can't stop you

His own Homeland Security director, and as well as the FBI director, says that there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are a source of being manipulated and cheating. There are going to be millions of people because of COVID that are going to be voting by mail-in ballots like he does. This is all about trying to dissuade people from voting because he's trying to scare people into thinking that it's not going to be legitimate.

Show up and vote. You will determine the outcome of this election. Vote, vote, vote. Vote whatever way is the best way for you. He cannot stop you from being able to determine the outcome of this election. When the votes are all counted, that will be accepted. If I win, that will be accepted. If I lose, that'll be accepted. If in fact he says, he's not sure what he's going to accept, let me tell you something, it doesn't matter, because if we get the votes, it's going to be all over. He's going to go. He can't stay in power. It won't happen.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Government Reform: Five states have done mail-in ballots for a decade or more

BIDEN: Five states have had mail-in ballots for the last decade or more. Five, including two Republican states. And you don't have to solicit the ballot. It's sent to you. It's sent to your home. What they're saying is that it has to be a postmark by election day. If it doesn't get in until the seventh, eighth, ninth, it still should be counted. He's just afraid of counting the votes.
Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Homeland Security: FactCheck: Yes, Hunter Biden was kicked out of military

Is it true that Biden's son was discharged from the military for drug use? The exchange first:

TRUMP: Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged.

BIDEN: That's not true; he was not dishonorably discharged.

TRUMP: For cocaine use.

BIDEN: None of that is true.

Fact-Check from NBC News, Oct. 16, 2014, headline "Joe Biden's Son Hunter Kicked Out of Navy for Cocaine"

A U.S. official told NBC News that Hunter Biden was kicked out of the Reserve earlier this year after he failed a drug test. The official said Biden failed the test in 2013, but he was not kicked out until Feb. 14 of this year. Senior US officials told NBC News that Biden, 44, tested positive for cocaine. Hunter Biden issued a statement saying: "It was the honor of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward."

Source: NBC News Fact-Check˙on First 2020 Presidential Debate Sep 29, 2020

On Principles & Values: Under Trump we're weaker, sicker, poorer, and more divided

Q: Why should voters elect you President as opposed to President Trump?
Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Principles & Values: There's nothing we can't do if we do it together

TRUMP: We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place. It's a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. I'm not going to allow that to happen.

BIDEN: The fact is that there is racial insensitivity. It's a little bit like how this guy and his friends look down on so many people. They look down their nose on people like Irish Catholics, like me, who grow up in Scranton. They look down on people who don't have money. They look down on people who are of a different faith. They looked down on people who are a different color. In fact, we're all Americans. The only way we're going to bring this country together is bring everybody together. There's nothing we cannot do, if we do it together. We can take this on and we can defeat racism in American.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

On Technology: Good-paying jobs via new green infrastructure

We can get to net zero, in terms of energy production, by 2035. Not only not costing people jobs, creating jobs, creating millions of good-paying jobs. Not 15 bucks an hour, but prevailing wage, by having a new infrastructure that in fact, is green. And the first thing I will do, I will rejoin the Paris Accord, because with us out of it, look what's happening. It's all falling apart.

The rainforests of Brazil are being torn down, are being ripped down. More carbon is absorbed in that rainforest than every bit of carbon that's emitted in the United States. Instead of doing something about that, I would be gathering up and making sure we had the countries of the world coming up with $20 billion, and say, "Here's $20 billion. Stop tearing down the forest. And If you don't, then you're going to have significant economic consequences." It's going to create thousands and millions of jobs. Good paying jobs.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace Sep 29, 2020

The above quotations are from First Presidential Debate, Case Western Reserve University, Sept. 29, 2020.
Click here for other excerpts from First Presidential Debate, Case Western Reserve University, Sept. 29, 2020.
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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2020