Workers prepare the stage for the first presidential debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on September 28 in Cleveland, Ohio.(AFP)
Workers prepare the stage for the first presidential debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on September 28 in Cleveland, Ohio.(AFP)

No drug test, no handshakes at opening presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Trump and his allies have sought to portray that Biden is mentally and physically unfit for the US presidency, and that he has been performing better on the campaign trail because of some performance-enhancing drug
Hindustan Times, Washington, DC | By Yashwant Raj
UPDATED ON SEP 29, 2020 05:33 PM IST

There will be no drug tests before the first of the presidential debates on Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump has been demanding. There will be no handshakes either, most probably, when Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden come face-to-face for the first time.

“Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a drug test,” Trump tweeted on Monday amid huge outrage following a New York Times report that said the US president paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and nothing at all in 10 of the last 15 years. “Gee, I wonder why?” he added.

Trump and his allies have sought to portray that Biden is mentally and physically unfit for the US presidency, and that he has been performing better on the campaign trail because of some performance-enhancing drug.

“He’s almost - no. I have no comment,” Biden said on Sunday at a press meet, playfully dismissing a question about Trump’s demand for a drug test. His campaign was more straightforward, though. “Vice-President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words,” a Biden spokesperson told Politico. “If the president thinks his best case is made in urine, he can have at it.”

Chris Wallace, a popular Fox News anchor who will moderate the first debate, is almost certainly not going to touch any of that.

The Commission on Presidential Debate, which was established in 1987 to conduct debates for presidential and vice-presidential nominees, has said Wallace has picked six broad topics for Tuesday’s debate, split into 15-minute segments: the Trump and Biden records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence in US cities, and the integrity of the election.

Presidential debates are crucial for voters tuning into the elections at this stage, including many who are undecided on who to vote for.

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