Trump Tempered, Biden Cornered: In a complete turnaround from the previous debate, Biden took an elusive course while Trump finally came across as presidential and in control of the discourse.
Just 11 days ahead of the US Presidential elections, President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden indulged in a much more civil final US presidential debate compared to the earlier un-presidential debacle. It was Trump’s last opportunity to reshape his reelection campaign, having trailed Biden for months now. The second Presidential debate of 2020 was cancelled after Trump refused a to take part in a virtual event. The debate saw both candidates take totally different courses. Trump was much more well-tempered but kept up his personal attacks aimed at Biden’s son Hunter‘s personal dealings. Biden, on the other hand, came across as rather unimpressive, lacking any emphatic moments, and elusive when cornered by moderator Kristen Welker.
The final US Presidential debate saw Trump and Biden actually indulge in some serious discourse, all credit to moderator Kristen Welker.
The final US Presidential debate saw Trump and Biden actually indulge in some sort of serious discourse as Welker was able to bring out views of both the candidates on wide-ranging important topics ranging from coronavirus, foreign policy, racism, tax returns, oil policy and climate change. The final presidential debate happens at a time when majority of the voters have either voted or have already made up their minds. Hence, a relatively lesser vote-share was up for direct influence. A record 47 million Americans have already cast their ballots, as the 2020 election has already eclipsed total early voting from 2016.
Watch: Key Moments From The Final US Presidential Debate 2020
Trump vs Biden, In A Nutshell: Here are the worthy highlights and takeaways from the final US Presidential debate of 2020.
1) Trump’s Civil But Personal Attacks
Unlike their debate in September, Trump followed restraint on Thursday, yet he repeatedly attacked Biden on many issues. Trump accused Biden and his son Hunter of engaging in unethical practices in China and Ukraine. Biden was quick to hit back at Trump, calling accusations ‘false’ and ‘discredited’.
Unlike the last debate, Trump was well-tempered and followed restraint even in his repeated attacks on Biden.
It was not the first time when Trump attacked Biden in this manner and he raised the same issue in the September debate also, yet no evidence has been verified to support Trump’s claim. Biden defended his family saying he has never made a ‘single penny’ from a foreign country, before accusing Trump of distracting Americans through such claims. “There’s a reason why Trump is bringing up all this malarkey,” Biden said, before making an emotional statement. “It’s not about his family or my family. It’s about your family, and your family’s hurting badly.” Trump’s effort to uncover Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business ties led to the president’s impeachment.
2) Biden Stuck To Basics
Biden used the debate as an ideal opportunity to target Trump for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. He says Trump underestimated the magnitude of the disease from the beginning, and he had no right to remain president for playing up with the lives of Americans.
“Any person who’s responsible for so many deaths shouldn’t remain the president of the USA,”Joe Biden during the final presidential debate of 2020
Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus last month and later hospitalized for it. The US president, however, has defended himself on loosening coronavirus restriction norms, even though he has been often seen violating the rules himself. During the debate, Trump defended his approach to the pandemic, saying the country could not afford to close businesses again despite many US states reporting record single-day increases in COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
“We’re learning to live with it,” said Trump. “We have no choice now.” “It will go away and as I say, we’re rounding the corner. It’s going away,” he said.
His statements gave Biden an opportunity to hit back severely. “Learning to live with it?” Biden retorted. “Come on. We’re dying with it.”
3) Tax Returns And Overseas Interests
In almost a recurrence of the September debate, Biden raised the income tax issue, accusing Trump of deliberately avoiding paying taxes. The Democrat candidate cited a New York Times report about Trump paying no federal taxes for more than two decades. “Release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption in the country,” Biden said.
Trump, who has been refusing to release his tax returns for years, said he had paid “millions.” Trump reiterated he would release his tax returns only when a longstanding audit was completed.
In recurrent Deja vu from the September debate, Biden kept raising the income tax issue, but was unable to corner Trump.
4) The Least Racism Person In The Room
Even as anti-racism protests have gripped the political environment in the US for months and the Trump government is accused of promoting pro-White policies, Biden used debate as a platform to attack Trump. He said Trump was “one of the most racist presidents” in the US history. Biden didn’t stop here, he went a step ahead, saying, “He pours fuel on every single racist fire.”
Trump responded by criticizing Biden’s authorship of a 1994 crime bill that increased incarceration of minority defendants. Trump defended himself asserting he had done more for Black Americans than any president with the “possible” exception of Abraham Lincoln. He tried to portray Biden as a typical politician. He repeatedly pointed out that Biden was in elected office for 47 years, blaming him for failing to solve problems like racism. “Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama. Because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run,” Trump said.
Biden was evasive when cornered for his part in drafting the 1994 Crime Bill which has turned out to be discriminatory towards blacks.
5) Serious Foreign Policy Talk
Biden has been attacking Trump’s foreign policy harshly throughout his Presidential campaign. He was again in his element on Thursday as he accused Trump of cozying up to “thugs” in North Korea, China and Russia, and “poking his finger at all US’s allies.” Criticizing his close ties with the autocratic leaders, Biden came down heavily on Trump, “We had a good relationship with Adolf Hitler before he invaded the rest of Europe during the Second World War.”
However, when talking about the US foreign policy against China, Biden looked on a defensive note. He promised to “get China to play by international laws”. But this is an area where the US has arguably benefited from Trump’s America First policies and suspicion of multilateral organizations. If impact due to the coronavirus pandemic is kept apart, Trump’s policies against China have resonated well across the United States.
When talking about the US foreign policy with regards to China, Biden looked defensive and vague.
Biden responded with a vague idea to handle China in the South China Sea, where Beijing has been building up islands and expanding its military power. Rather than highlighting the dangers posed by Chinese policies, Biden sounded evasive on the issue. He suggested that US planes would “fly through” Chinese identification zones. The tactic Biden suggested has actually been widely used by the Trump administration to put pressure on China.
And… Filthy Air!
Trump in his many debates over four years has come up with some farcical reactions over the environmental issues. His statement on Thursday put him under spotlight once again. When provoked for his woeful record on climate change, Trump said he wanted American water and air to be perfectly clear, unlike other countries. “Look at China, how filthy it is, look at Russia, look at India, it’s filthy. The air is filthy!” Trump’s comments soon became fodder for meme cannons as it drew mixed reactions on social sites.
Who Won The Final US Presidential Debate Of 2020?
In most of the opinion polls, Biden is clearly emerging as the winner. However, in American politics, greater vote share does not mean victory if you win lesser electoral colleges. The margin of victory is narrower in a handful of states which could potential decide the race either way. With the fate of US to be decided in two weeks time and the political temperature in the country on the rise, the salient points from the final debate of the US Presidential Election 2020 gave a better picture on the views of Trump and Biden than was expected.
Trump Tame, Biden Elusive — 2020’s Final US Presidential Debate.
Watch what undecided American voters think: