Mr Trump and Mr Biden were forced to confront their positions on race and equality
Both white candidates were also pressed on race, highlighting the disparity between the public and those in power.
The president, who previously refused to denounce white supremacy, instead telling violent groups to “stand by”, was asked to address his position.
“You always do this,” he said, before Ms Guthrie had finished the question, “I denounce white supremacy, okay? I denounced white supremacy for years, but you always do it, you always start off with the question.”
Mr Trump then pivoted quickly, adding: “You didn’t ask Joe Biden whether or not he denounces ANTIFA.”
For Mr Biden, the point in question was just as prickly, with one voter pressing him to explain a crime bill he wrote in 1994 which has been criticised of showing prejudice against minority groups.
Mr Biden has addressed this bill previously, and appeared to have prepared for such a question.
“Well, first of all, things have changed drastically,” he said, highlighting the fact that, at the time the bill was proposed, the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus supported it.
Mr Biden also said he opposed more drastic elements of the bill, whilst supporting aspects of it - including putting an end to jail time for drug use, which disproportionately affects African Americans.
On the topic of policing, the former vice president stood by his belief that defunding is not the answer, so long as officers are part of a community policing system, not “jump squads”.
He also proposed the creation of a study group to determine changes that can be made to improve the police.
Mr Trump downplayed being $400million in debt
A recent New York Times article leaked decades of the president’s tax returns and found that he owes more than $400million in personally-guaranteed debts that will come due in the next four years.
When asked who he owed money to, Mr Trump batted the story away and claimed that he owed very little money, in comparison to his wealth.
“When you look at vast properties like I have,” he said, “$400million is a peanut.”
“It’s a tiny percentage of my net worth,” he said, adding: “No, I don’t owe Russia money.”
Mr Trump said that he would have no qualms about revealing who is owed the money, but markedly neglected to do so.
The president also refused to release his tax returns, claiming that they’re still under audit - a defence he’s used consistently since he ran for the 2016 election.