Trump, Biden to face off in first of three presidential debates ahead of US elections

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The first of three highly-anticipated presidential debates pitting US President Donald Trump against Democratic rival Joe Biden will begin Tuesday evening on the heels of a New York Times bombshell article alleging the incumbent president only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017.

Fox News’ Chris Wallace will mediate the televised debate that will mark the first time Trump and Biden face off in-person. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign released a list of 17 questions they say Biden will need to answer.

US elections: Moderators for Trump-Biden debates announced, dates set

Among the controversies that have landed Biden in hot water are the accusations that his son, Hunter, received a $3.5 million wire transfer from a Russian billionaire married to the former mayor of Moscow. Hunter Biden is also believed to have had a joint bank account with a Chinese national “that financed $100,000 in credit card purchases around the world,” the Trump campaign said.

Supreme Court

Biden and Democrats have criticized Trump for nominating a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They have called on Trump to wait until after the November presidential elections. Republicans have control of the Senate, which is the legislative body that approves Supreme Court appointments.

Trump is expected to question Biden’s lack of putting forward a list of potential candidates.

Read more: With Republican backing, Trump to push Supreme Court nominee before US elections

Coronavirus, tax raises and economy

Biden will have a chance to publicly question Trump’s methods of dealing with the coronavirus that has seen the most deaths in the US. He will also examine Trump’s comments on downplaying the severity of the pandemic to journalist Bob Woodward in a recently published book. Trump, who issued a travel ban on several countries, including China, will cite Biden’s criticism of the decision at the time.

Trump and the Republican party have traditionally been less aggressive on tax raises, while Democrats are proponents of increased taxes.

Biden is expected to hammer Trump because he has not made his tax returns public and the weak US economy due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump meanwhile will question Biden’s intention to raise taxes on those who make more than $400,000 annually after pledging in 2008 not to increase taxes on those who made less than $250,000.

Immigration, racism and protests

Trump has been a vocal critic of illegal immigration into the United States. Building a multi-billion dollar wall in an effort to halt illegal border crossings from Mexico into the US, Trump has also issued a travel ban against countries he says support or harbor terrorism.

As for the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted across America since late May, Trump is anticipated to maintain his “law and order” rhetoric and his support for increased numbers in law enforcement agencies. The president will also point to acts of violence against police officers and civilians that have not taken part in the protests.

Trump will also cite low unemployment numbers in the Black and Hispanic communities during his first term.

Read more: US elections: Trump promises holiday on Juneteenth, more jobs in Black communities

On the other hand, Biden will accuse Trump of not condemning white supremacists who have taken to the streets with heavy arms and weapons. The former vice president will also point to his decision to choose a Black woman to be his running mate for the first time.

Read more: More polarization or coming to the center? The other US elections in November