Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called President Donald Trump the "worst president that America has ever had" during the first presidential debate Tuesday night. The 90-minute long commercial-free airing proved to be a chaotic event that was marked with personal attacks, name-calling, and interjections as the two nominees went back and forth on a number of topics, among them a New York Times report regarding the president’s tax records.
That report, published Sunday, claimed that Trump paid no federal income taxes for 11 of the 18 years the Times looked at and revealed that Trump is deeply in debt to the IRS and to private lenders and is embroiled in a legal battle over an IRS audit that could have dire consequences for him. Most controversial, however, was the allegation that the president paid a total of $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017 due to nearly $10 million tax credit.
"You're the worst president America has ever had," Joe Biden says to Pres. Trump, amid a heated argument over Pres. Trump's federal income taxes. https://t.co/5Bl4Ob3O2t #Debates2020 pic.twitter.com/lC4qX0RvNG— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
Asked if "it is true" that he paid just $750 in federal income taxes in those two years, Trump, disputing the report, claimed that he paid "millions of dollars in taxes." When Biden urged the president to "show us your tax returns," however, Trump stuck to a long-held statement that the public would "see it as soon as it's finished." He went on to claim that he doesn't "want to pay tax" and lauded himself for making smart tax decisions.
Asked to respond to those statements, Biden condemned the president, stating that he "takes advantage of the tax code." If elected, he said that he would "eliminate" those tax codes and "invest in the people who need help." After Trump hit back by asking, "why didn't you do it over the last 25 years," Biden responded, "Because you were president screwing things up. You're the worst president America has ever had, c'mon."
Donald Trump is the worst president we've ever had.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
Tuesday's debate will be followed by a second debate to be held in Miami on Thursday, Oct. 15. A third and final debate is scheduled to take place in Nashville on Thursday, Oct. 22. A vice-presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris is scheduled for Oct. 7.