5 memorable moments from the heated Biden-Trump debate

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President Biden and former President Trump took jabs at each other Thursday night in a debate that raised fresh fears for Democrats over the former’s mental fitness.

The two men tried to make their appeals to voters as concerns swirled over both of them. But it was Biden’s faltering answers in the first 30 minutes of the debate that largely overshadowed everything else.

The debate came as Trump narrowly leads in most, but not all, national polls. The Hill/Decision Desk HQ’s national polling average shows Trump with nearly 45 percent of support while Biden has nearly 44 percent.

Here are five memorable moments from the debate.

Biden stumbles with his answers early on

In a moment that arguably did more than any other to define the narrative of the debate, Biden appeared to lose his train of thought while mixing up the terms Medicare and COVID.

Later, Trump took aim at the president’s slurred comments.

“I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence,” Trump said, while the two men were discussing the topic of immigration. “I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper had pressed Biden on why voters should “trust” him to secure the border, pointing to the record number of migrants crossing into the U.S. While Biden touted his support of a bipartisan border security deal and his recent crackdown on the border, he appeared to trip over his words before concluding his answer.

“I’m going to continue to move until we get to total ban — on the total initiative relative to what we’re going to do with more border patrol and more asylum officers,” Biden said before Trump shot back.

A source familiar with Biden’s campaign told The Hill that the president had a cold during the debate, explaining away his slow start and raspy voice.

Biden snaps at Trump over veterans: ‘My son was not a loser’

Biden got heated with Trump after the former president attacked his record on veterans’ issues, lashing out at Trump about 30 minutes into the debate.

“My son served in Iraq,” Biden said, referring to his oldest son Beau. “He lived next to burn pits. He came back with glioblastoma…. He [Trump] called veterans suckers and losers. My son was not a loser. He was not a sucker. You’re the loser. You’re the sucker.”

Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015, believed to be from his exposure to burn pits from his Army National Guard service in Iraq.

Trump denied ever calling fallen veterans “suckers and losers,” saying the quote was made up.

“That was a made-up quote. ‘Suckers and losers.’ They made it up. It was in a third-rate magazine that’s failing — like many of these magazines. He [Biden] made that up. He put it in commercials. We had 19 people who said I didn’t say it.”

Despite his claims to the contrary, however, Trump’s own former chief of staff John Kelly previously confirmed Trump called dead veterans “suckers” in 2018. Trump reportedly made the comment after saying he did not want to visit a cemetery for fallen American World War I soldiers in France.

Biden, Trump call each other criminals

Trump quickly hit back at Biden after the president called him a “convicted felon.”

“The only person on this stage is a convicted felon is the man I’m looking at right now,” Biden had said, before Trump responded.

Trump then called out Hunter Biden, the president’s son, after he was found guilty of federal gun charges earlier this month.

“When he talks about a convicted felon, his son is a convicted felon, at a very high level,” he responded, adding that he believes Hunter will be convicted more times. Hunter faces a felony trail on tax charges in September.

Trump then labeled Biden a criminal.

“Joe could be a convicted felon with all of the things that he’s done, he’s done horrible things,” Trump said. “This man is a criminal. This man, you’re lucky, you’re lucky, I did nothing wrong. We have a system that was rigged and disgusting.”

Biden: Trump has ‘morals of an alley cat’

The president hit Trump over his legal trouble and alleged past affairs in a moment of the debate that got personal, as Trump claimed numerous his legal cases were politically motivated.

“The crimes you are still charged with and think of all the civil penalties you have,” Biden said. “How many billions of dollars do you owe in civil penalties or for molesting a woman in public? For doing a whole range of things.”

“For having sex with a porn star… while your wife was pregnant?” he continued. “What are you talking about? You have the morals of an alley cat.”

Trump hit back, denying the affair which was at the center of his New York criminal trial. The former president was found guilty of illegally covering up payments made to hide the affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“We had a very terrible judge, a horrible judge, Democrat,” Trump said. “The prosecutor were all high-ranking Democrats, appointed people. Both the civil and the criminal. He [Biden] basically went after his political opponent because he thought it was going to damage me.”

Trump faces three remaining criminal trials over claims related to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election and to hide classified documents, though none are expected to be decided before the election. Civil cases earlier this year found the former president liable for sexual assault, business fraud and defamation.

Trump tangles with Biden over abortion

The two candidates traded arguments over their stances on abortion, one of the most highly debated issues ahead of the election.

Trump touted his role in overturning Roe v. Wade—the landmark Supreme Court ruling that protected the national right to an abortion. He emphasized his belief that the issue should be left up to the states, while maintaining that he supports exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

He also said that he supported the Supreme Court’s decision to hold up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, the drug that is used in most abortions across the country.

“I agree with their decision to have done that, and I will not block it,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Biden repeatedly reiterated his support for Roe. He said overturning the landmark ruling was a “terrible thing.”

“The idea that states are able to [ban abortion] is a little like saying we’re going to turn civil rights back to the states,” he said. 

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