President Donald Trump and Joe Biden traded barbs about each other’s relatives during their first debate Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Democrat Joe Biden evoked his son Beau Biden to criticize President Donald Trump for reportedly calling members of the American military who lost their lives “losers” and “suckers.”
Raising his voice at Tuesday night’s debate, Biden described his son as a hero. Beau Biden died of cancer in 2015.
Trump responded by pivoting to a familiar attack, on Biden’s other son, Hunter.
The president said, “I don’t know Beau. I know Hunter,” and accused Hunter Biden of having collected millions of dollars from oversees interests, including China, while working as a consultant during his father’s tenure as vice president. It echoed attacks the president made earlier in the debate in Cleveland, but have little basis in fact.
Trump also opened a new line of attack when he said Hunter Biden was dishonorably discharged from the military for cocaine use. Biden responded that his son wasn’t dishonorably discharged.
He addressed viewers directly and said that, like a lot of Americans, Hunter had a drug problem but was “working on it” and had “fixed it.”
Biden added, “I’m proud of my son.”
While Biden was making a point about the Trump administration’s trade deals with China not having the desired effect, Trump jumped in. He resurrected past claims about the former vice president’s son Hunter working overseas.
Trump said Hunter Biden reaped millions in ill-gotten profit from China and other overseas interests, accusations that have been repeatedly debunked. Biden shot back, “None of that is true.” He then added of Trump, “His family, we could talk all night.”
Trump interrupted to respond that his children gave up lucrative jobs to join government and “help people,” which left moderator Chris Wallace pleading, “Mr. President, please stop” trying to restore order on the stage.
Biden then turned to the camera and addressed the audience directly, something he did frequently Tuesday night. “This is not about my family or his family,” Biden said. “It’s about your family.”