6 major moments from the final Trump-Biden debate

Eldis Sula
October 23, 2020 - 12:38 am

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden went toe-to-toe one last time at the final presidential debate on Thursday.

Less than two weeks before Election Day, the candidates hit the stage for a notedly more subdued event than the unruly first debate.

The two squared off on a range of issues on the public’s mind during election season, including coronavirus, race and healthcare.

The days leading up to the event were filled with controversies ranging from rule changes to last-minute announcements regarding safety measures.

But the match-off was tempered and steady, with both candidates buttoned-up in attempts to sway voters in the election’s final days.

Take a look at some of the major moments from Thursday’s debate below.

Mic check

A mic muting rule by the Commission on Presidential Debates seemed to achieve its intended effect. Instated by the CPD in response to a first debate characterized by frequent interruptions, the rule silenced one candidate’s microphone while the other gave his initial two-minute response at the top of each segment. The cut mics reinforced the general tenor of the evening, in which both Trump and Biden were on their best behavior.

Biden slams virus response, Trump appeals to personal experience

The former vice president slammed the White House response to COVID. Trump kicked off the debate with a steady defense of his response to the virus, starting heavy in numbers and stats before summoning his own experience catching the virus recently. “I caught it. I learned a lot. I learned a lot. Great doctors, great hospitals. And I recovered,” he asserted. Trump also stressed his focus on moving forward amid the pandemic. “We’re learning to live with it,” he said. Biden returned that under the Trump administration, Americans are rather “learning to die with it.”

Welker holds steady

Across social media, moderator Kristen Welker earned praise for a firm, steady-handed performance. Throughout the evening, Welker mediated the back-and-forth between the candidates smoothly. Welker even earned praise from Trump. “So far, I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say,” he told her during the event.

Biden holds up ‘Bidencare’

Healthcare was a major topic of the debate, during an election redefined by an unprecedented pandemic. Trump accused Biden of plotting to launch “socialized medicine” and insisting that the former vice president’s campaign is being pushed too far to the left by the rest of the Democratic Party. Trump also touted his termination of the individual mandate, which he called the “worst part” of the Affordable Care Act. Biden was not shy about drawing the connection to former President Barack Obama’s plan. “I’m going to pass Obamacare with a public option,” the former vice president said before dubbing the update “Bidencare.”

Trump slugs on China, Biden pivots to taxes

The president accused Biden and his son Hunter of taking money from China, which the former vice president sharply denied, saying he’s “not taken a penny” from any foreign country. Biden then pressed Trump on his taxes which he has not released publicly, asking him, “What are you hiding?”

Race discussion gets heated

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden got into a heated exchange on the topic of race relations. Trump was asked what he would say to Americans who think the president’s past critiques of the Black Lives Matter movement and professional athletes who express their First Amendment rights contributes to a climate of hate and racial strife. “I think I have great relationships with all people,” he responded. “I am the least racist person in the room.” He went on to stress the statement two more times. Biden responded by alluding to Trump previously claiming to have done more for Black people than any other president except Abraham Lincoln. “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history,” the former vice president said in regards to Trump. “He pours fuel on every racist fire.”

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