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Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, did not shake hands and neither put the muzzle at the start of their first debate on Tuesday, while adhering to social distancing rules during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The two candidates entered the stage at the same time and smiled, while Fox News broadcaster Chris Wallace made it clear that they would not shake hands.
“How are you, man?” Biden said. He extended his arms towards Trump.
The debate takes 90 minutes, with a limited audience adhering to the rules of social distancing due to the epidemic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and this is the first of three debates scheduled to take place.
Organizers said that about 80 people attended, including family members and guests of the candidates, two campaign staff, hosts, health and security officials and journalists.
Among Trump’s guests were First Lady Melania Trump, his two sons Eric and Donald Jr., his two daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and supporters such as Representative Jim Jordan and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Biden’s wife Jill seated in his part.
With more than a million Americans already casting their ballots early and running out of time to change opinions or influence a small segment of undecided voters, the debate between the two candidates for the White House carries great stakes five weeks before the November 3 election.
Biden, 77, has steadily led Trump, 74, in nationwide polls, even though polls in crucial states show the competition’s convergence.
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