CHRIS WALLACE: Good evening from the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. I’m Chris Wallace of Fox News and I welcome you to the first of the 2020 presidential debates between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. This debate is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The Commission has designed the format, six roughly 15 minute segments with two minute answers from each candidate to the first question, then open discussion for the rest of each segment. Both campaigns have agreed to these rules. For the record, I decided the topics and the questions in each topic. I can assure you none of the questions has been shared with the Commission or the two candidates.
This debate is being conducted under health and safety protocols designed by the Cleveland Clinic, which is serving as the health security advisor to the Commission for all four debates. As a precaution, both campaigns have agreed the candidates will not shake hands at the beginning of tonight’s debate. The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. No cheers, no boos, or other interruptions so we, and more importantly you, can focus on what the candidates have to say. No noise except right now, as we welcome the Republican nominee, President Trump, and the Democratic nominee Vice President Biden.
JOE BIDEN: How you doing, man?
DONALD TRUMP: How are you doing?
JOE BIDEN: I’m well.
CHRIS WALLACE: Gentlemen, a lot of people been waiting for this night, so let’s get going. Our first subject is the Supreme Court. President Trump, you nominated Amy Coney Barrett over the weekend to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Court. You say the Constitution is clear about your obligation and the Senate’s to consider a nominee to the Court. Vice President Biden, you say that this is an effort by the President and Republicans to jam through on an appointment in what you call an abuse of power. My first question to both of you tonight, why are you right in the argument you make and your opponent wrong? And where do you think a Justice Barrett would take the court? President Trump, in this first segment, you go first. Two minutes.
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much, Chris. I will tell you very simply. We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate, we have the White House, and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all. Top, top academic, good in every way. Good in every way. In fact, some of her biggest endorsers are very liberal people from Notre Dame and other places. So I think she’s going to be fantastic. We have plenty of time. Even if we did it after the election itself. I have a lot of time after the election, as you know. So I think that she will be outstanding. She’s going to be as good as anybody that has served on that court. We really feel that. We have a professor at Notre Dame, highly respected by all, said she’s the single greatest student he’s ever had. He’s been a professor for a long time at a great school.
And we won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her, and very few people knowingly would say otherwise. And by the way, the Democrats, they wouldn’t even think about not doing it. The only difference is they’d try and do it faster. There’s no way they would give it up. They had Merrick Garland, but the problem is they didn’t have the election so they were stopped. And probably that would happen in reverse, also. Definitely would happen in reverse. So we won the election and we have the right to do it, Chris.
CHRIS WALLACE: President Trump, thank you. Same question to you, Vice President Biden. You have two minutes.
JOE BIDEN: Well, first of all, thank you for doing this and looking forward to this, Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you, Joe.