US election 2020 – Donald Trump prepares for EXPLOSIVE first presidential debate with Joe Biden after income tax row
DONALD Trump is preparing for tonight's explosive first 2020 presidential debate with Democrat candidate Joe Biden.
Tonight's debate, held in Ohio, is the first of three head-to-heads scheduled before the November 3 vote and gets the 2020 election into full swing.
It's expected to be a fiery affair – with both participants saying they are looking forward to holding the other to account.
You watch the entire debate live, here on this page – with it beginning at 9pm US Eastern Time (2am British Summer Time) and lasting 90 minutes.
One subject bound to come up is the claim that the President paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 – something he blasted as fake news.
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TRUMP ON THE DEFENSIVE?
More than 200,000 Americans have been killed by Covid-19 under Donald Trump’s watch – the highest death toll of any country in the world.
Tens of millions of people are still out of work, points out the Associated Press.
The country's cultural and political divisions are widening.
And don't forget the weekend allegations from the New York Times that Trump has paid less federal income taxes than most working-class Americans for several years.
Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News and Biden will no doubt press Trump on those facts during the televised debate.
TRUMP V BIDEN – FIRST TV DEBATE
President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, go head-to-head on the debate stage for the first time Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Millions of voters will get their first opportunity to compare the candidates' policies and personalities side-by-side on national TV.
Their much anticipated clash is scheduled to last for 90 minutes just five weeks before Election Day – and as early voting is already unfolding in some states.
The moderator is Chris Wallace of Fox News.
It’ll be Trump’s first formal debate since taking office at the White House.
WHAT'S BEING PREPARED?
The six topics Wallace has chosen to debate this evening are the past records of both candidates, the supreme court, Covid-19, the economy, racial issues and violence in the cities, and the integrity of the election.
Biden is understood to have spent several days preparing for tonight's debate, with campaign adviser Bob Bauer reportedly playing Trump and adopting his style during practice sessions.
Trump has reportedly not attempted traditional rehearsals, instead watching videos of Biden and creating flashcards to.
Former New Jersey Governer is said to be helping the President prepare for tonight's event, with Trump aides preparing an “arsenal” of material to hurl at Biden.
WILL CORONAVIRUS RESTRCTIONS BE IN PLACE?
The podiums wills be further apart than they usually would be at a presidential debate as part of coronavirus precautions.
The pair won't shake hands before or after the debate – not something we imagine will upset either of the men.
Roughly 70 people are expected to be in the audience for the debate – far lower than would usually attend such an event.
WHAT'S THE DEBATE FORMAT?
Tonight's debate will be broken down into six 15-minute segments, lasting a total of 90 minutes with no commercial breaks.
There will be no opening statements, and the first question will go to Trump.
Wallace said he's hoping to be “as invisible as possible” as moderator, allowing the debate to flow between the two candidates an not fact-checking either of them.
WHO WILL BE MODERATING?
Tonight's moderator will be Fox News host Chris Wallace, who famously held the President to account over the coronavirus death toll during an explosive interview in July.
Wallace also famously questioned the difficulty of a cognitive test the President claimed to have “aced”.
For his part, Trump recently accused Wallace of being “controlled by the radical left”.
WHERE IS THE DEBATE BEING HELD?
Tonight’s debate is taking place at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Ohio has been considered a vital swing state over the past two decades – although Trump there by a massive eight points in 2016 and all indications show it is leaning towards becoming a solidly Republican state due to its older, largely white population.
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