Trump Vs. Biden – The Final Debate

Highlights from the final presidential debate.


Joslyn Varkey, Staff Writer

The two candidates met on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville for the second and final presidential debate for the 2020 election. The pandemic, the economy, and the current racial injustice issues are expected to be the main focus of debate. So far, Trump is far behind Biden. He has used up the majority of his funds and the polls aren’t in his favor. Biden has an unmistakable lead over Trump and the polls are in his favor with his approval ratings growing by the day. The final debate was perhaps more civil than the first, largely in part due to the muting of both candidate’s mics. Very few voters are undecided and more than 40 million have already cast their ballot. 


The first question of the night placed both candidates at odds with each other. The debate’s moderator, Kristen Welker, asked both candidates how they would lead the country in the next stage of the pandemic. Trump and Biden’s responses were direct opposites. Trump downplayed the severity of this illness and made it seem as though it was no big concern, despite having contracted the illness himself and having only recently recovered. “We’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner, it’s going away,” he said. CDC deputy director Jay Butler warned, just this week, “we are seeing a distressing trend here in the United States” in reference to the number of cases. Biden disagreed. “220,000 Americans dead. Anyone who’s responsible for this many deaths should not remain as President if the United States of America,” he said. He then went on to say, “the expectation  is we’ll have another two hundred thousand Americans dead by the end of the year.” Dr. Fauci’s remarks from early this month support this. The models tell us that if we do not do the kinds of things that we’re talking about in the cold of the fall and the winter, we could have from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths. That would be just so tragic, if that happens.” The measures he’s referring to are wearing masks and practicing social distancing.  

Both candidates voiced their opinions on saving the planet but disagreed on the finer details. Trump ridiculed the efficiency of wind and solar power and accused the democratic candidate of being a puppet controlled by freshman politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Biden non-verbally reacted by looking upwards and rolling his eyes. Trump then went on to claim, randomly, that Biden wanted buildings without windows or “little, tiny, small windows.” Biden responded, “I don’t know where he comes from.” Biden then took the floor to warn that the environment was close to the point of no return and that green-energy would provide  millions of new jobs. He took care to remind viewers that Trump once claimed, falsely, that windmills cause cancer. Trump also said that windmills kill birds, are too expensive, and “the fumes coming up to make these massive windmills is more than anything that we’re talking about with natural gas.” In a parallel of the first debate, both candidates once again disagreed on the issue of fracking. While Biden was clear on where he stood, Trump seemed to be confused on his opponent’s stance. Biden said, “The oil industry pollutes…significantly.” Trump retorted with, “It has to be replaced with renewable energy over time. He is going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that Texas? Will you remember that Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio?” 


Welker attempted to focus the conversation on racial issues in America. Trump instead brought up the laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter  Biden, Joe Biden’s son, that was allegedly found to have held compromising  messages and photographs. Trump also compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, a comment that Biden later turned around and mocked. Welker then tried to bring the conversation back to the topic at hand. “We are talking about race right now.” Both candidates continued to ignore the question at hand and instead tore into each other, bringing up various reports and records. Trump is known to have a problematic past with racial issues and Biden was quick to point this out. Trump responded by focusing on Biden’s part in the 1994 crime bill that is now recognized to have had an unequal impact on black communities. Trump feigned ignorance at the mention of the Black Lives Matter movement but then went on to say they were anti-police. He credited himself for the long term funding of historically black colleges and universities. Biden acknowledged his part in the 1994 crime bill and realized his past actions were a mistake. He did however note that prison population fell under the Obama administration. He then recounted some key moments of Trump’s various attacks on minorities causing Trump to respond with, “I am the least racist person in this room.” 


As a result of the pandemic, many Americans lost their employer-sponsored healthcare. Trump and Biden once again disagreed on how to solve this problem. While he served as Vice President, Biden helped create the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Biden wants to build off of that and calls his new plan Bidencare. His plan gives Americans the chance to purchase public health insurance which creates competition for private insurance rates. Hopefully this would result in lower costs for everyone without kicking anyone off of their existing plans. “I support private insurance. Not one single person on private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan,” Biden said. Trump on the other hand wants to get rid of Obamacare’s individual mandate requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay fees. He will replace it with a health plan that protects pre-existing conditions. “What I would like to do is a much better healthcare, much better.  It will always protect people with pre-existing – so I’d like to terminate Obamacare, [and] come up with a brand new, beautiful healthcare.” Once again, he failed to offer any detail on this new healthcare plan of his. 

Welker went on to ask both candidates a question referring to both Iran and Russia’s known interference in the current election. Both candidates quickly turned the conversation into a heated exchange over personal finances and the former Vice President’s son. Biden questioned why Trump had shown leniency towards Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. Trump retorted with a claim that Biden’s family had profited from business with China. Biden immediately denied this, saying, “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever.” The conversation then further diverged into Hunter Biden’s work on the Ukrainian board of the Burisma company. Hunter’s work there overlapped with the time Biden spent overseeing Ukraine policy as the Vice President. Trump and his party have been trying to claim for a while now that this is evidence that Biden acted improperly, despite there being no evidence to prove such a claim. Biden defended his son and himself and stated that nothing was wrong about Hunter’s work. He then went on to quote several U.S officials’ testimonies during Trump’s impeachment trials who stated that Biden had not acted improperly as Vice President. Trump also claimed that Hunter had also gained money from business with China, which Biden profusely denied. “My son has not made any money from China. The only one who made money from China was this guy,” he said. Biden then went on to end this irrelevant conversation, noting that personal finances were not relevant to the viewers. 

With just over a week until Election Day, Biden holds a comfortable lead over Trump. Biden has an overall lead of 10 points and has key states such as Pennsylvania and Florida leaning in his favor. Trump has favorable ratings in North Carolina and South Dakota as well as Arizona but overall he is far behind Biden. Biden has an 87 out of 100 chance in winning while Trump holds a mere twelve. Generally speaking, it’s unlikely Trump will win re election unless he somehow manages to turn his ratings upside down. Many states have started early voting and more than 40 million voters have already cast their votes. Ballots are expected to take a few days to be counted, meaning that no one will know the victor of the election for days or, perhaps, weeks.