The 2020 presidential debate kicked off Tuesday night with a buzz, including personal attacks, needling and interrupting between President Donald Trump and former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The debate, moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace, took place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. In one particularly heated moment, Trump fired back at Biden’s snub that the president needs to “get a lot smarter, a lot quicker” in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump responded by stating there “is nothing smart” about Biden, accusing him of graduating from college at the bottom of his class.
“You use the word smart?” Trump asked. “You said you went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn’t go to Delaware State.”
“You graduated either as the lowest, or almost in the lowest, of your class,” the president continued. “Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me. Because, you know what, there is nothing smart about you, Joe.”
You can watch the clip below:
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) September 30, 2020
This isn’t the first time the president called into question Biden’s academic history — often making it a focal point during his reelection campaign.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump’s Campaign Manager Published a Facebook Video Disputing Biden’s Claims That He Graduated in the Top of His Class
On May 5, Trump’s campaign manager published a Facebook video featuring clips of Biden discussing his academic record with voters. It was also accompanied by the caption: “Joe Biden has been lying about his personal life for decades.”
PolitiFact found the claims to be “unproven,” reporting:
Parscale’s video pulls clips from real newscasts about a misstatement Biden made in the run-up to the 1988 election. But his caption — that the former vice president has been ‘lying about his personal life for decades’ — is unproven. We found no reports that Biden repeated the claims after 1987.
The post showcases a 1987 C-Span clip of Biden stating that he was the only one on a “full academic scholarship” in his graduating class from law school.
“The first year in law school, I decided I didn’t want to be in law school and ended up in the bottom two-thirds of my class,” Biden says in the clip. “And then decided I wanted to stay, went back to law school and, in fact, ended up in the top half of my class.”
The former VP also stated that he graduated with three undergraduate degrees.
Biden Graduated From Syracuse University’s Law School in 1968, but Not in the Top Half of His Class
According to a 1987 Newsweek report, Biden graduated from Syracuse University in the 76th slot of 85 students in his law school class.
He also attended on a half scholarship based on financial need and did not receive three undergraduate degrees, the outlet added.
In response to the reporting, Biden told The New York Times that his “recollection of this was inaccurate,” confirming that he received money from the school and the Higher Education Scholarship Fund of Delaware.
“I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont (N.H.) event was intended to refer to these majors — I said ‘three’ and should have said ‘two,’” Biden said in the statement, according to The Times.
He added that “I exaggerate when I’m angry” but emphasized that he does not say untrue things about himself.