- By Levi Rickert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off in the final presidential debate of the 2020 election.
With only 12 days left until Election Day, the two candidates took the stage at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., with Biden leading national polls by an average of nearly 10 points and 47 million Americans having already voted.
The debate had a different tone than the first debate on Sept. 29 which was more contentious. The noticeable difference was because on Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the two candidates would have their microphones muted to allow the candidates to answer questions without interruptions for two minutes. Then the microphones were turned on, which caused back and forth arguments with both candidates talking over one another.
The muted microphones allowed debate moderator Kristen Welker, NBC White House correspondent, to question the candidates on a large range of questions that included the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy, China relations and race relations.
The two men showed two vastly different approaches to leadership of the United States, especially in their approach on how they would handle the coronavirus. Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus that has left more than 220,000 Americans dead.
Trump stuck to this line that he tells his campaign rally audiences — that the country is turning the corner on the coronavirus even as 60,000 cases have been reported daily during the past week. The president even went as far to say, “We’re learning to live with it.”
Biden, in a strong retort, responded: “People are learning to die with it.”
When asked about race, Trump said he had done more for Black people than anyone with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, who championed the Emancipation Proclamation. Trump argued he was the “least racist person in this room,” while apparently forgetting Welker is Black.
Biden quickly responded that “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire.”
“This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn,” Biden said.
Biden condemned the news first reported by NBC News on Tuesday that 545 children who were separated at the southern United States border cannot be reunited with their parents because federal officials’ sloppy work to keep track of where the parents are. Many of the parents have reportedly been deported and the children left behind in detention centers.
Biden called the actions of the Trump administration “criminal” when “kids were ripped from their parents’ arms and separated and now cannot find over 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone, nowhere to go.”
Praise for Biden’s performance came in immediately after the debate from American Indian Congresswoman Deb Halaand (D-N.M.), a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, who tweeted:
“Tonight @JoeBiden showed all Americans that we need steady leadership that will address this virus, open our country, and build back better. I’m voting for @JoeBiden because our democracy is at stake. Election day is November 3rd, make a plan and #vote.”
“Tonight, we saw another clear contrast between a real leader like Joe Biden and someone who is simply unfit for office. While Donald Trump dwelled on conspiracy theories, crazy distractions, and outright lies about his record, Vice President Biden presented the vision American families are clamoring for: an effective plan to beat this virus, protect our health care, unite our divided nation, and rebuild the economy that Donald Trump destroyed,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs said.
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