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Biden-Trump debate defined by major differences in policy, personal attacks

The candidates debated on issues from immigration and reproductive rights to the Ukraine-Russia war.
Posted at 6:14 AM, Jun 28, 2024

Nearly four years after they last shared a stage, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump sparred Thursday night during the first presidential debate of the 2024 election.

"I’ve never heard so much malarkey in my whole life,” President Biden said at one point to his opponent.

"He made up the ‘suckers and losers’ story. He should apologize to me right now,” Trump said in another instance.

But the debate put a spotlight on the policy differences between Trump and Biden.

“Every time that [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy] comes to this country, he walks away with $60 billion. He's the greatest salesman ever,” Trump said of U.S. aid given to Ukraine in its war with Russia. “And I'm not knocking him. I'm not knocking anything. I'm only saying the money that we're spending on this war — and we shouldn't be spending — should have never happened.”

President Biden rebuffed.

"What happens if, in fact, you have [Russian President Vladimir Putin] continue to go into NATO. We have an Article 5 agreement — “an attack on one is an attack on all,” President Biden said. “You want to start the nuclear war he keeps talking about? Go ahead. Let Putin go in and control Ukraine, and then move on to Poland and other places."

CNN moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash pressed the candidates about key issues like immigration and reproductive rights.

When Trump argued that Democrats want to allow abortions at nine months and beyond the womb, President Biden shot the claim down.

“We are not for late-term abortion — period. Period. Period,” said the president.

“Under Roe v. Wade, you have late-term abortion,” Trump said. “You can do whatever you want, depending on the state, you can do whatever you want. We don't think that's a good thing. We think it's a radical thing."

Both candidates now plan to hit the road following the debate and campaign off their debate performance.

Trump is heading to Virginia on Friday, and President Biden will campaign in North Carolina.

While some debate claims were misleading, others were just inaccurate. Take a look at Scripps News’ fact check of the debate.

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