In the third and final presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump sparred on issues including COVID-19, the climate crisis, immigration, and health care.
After a chaotic first debate, the candidates’ microphones were muted last night while each one delivered their two-minute responses to questions.
Still, like previous debates, Trump piled on lie after lie, spreading dangerous falsehoods, while Biden refocused the debate on the issues that matter to the American people.
Trump began the night making dangerous false claims about COVID-19.
He claimed a vaccine was “ready” and will be released in the coming weeks – even if a safe and tested vaccine was to be available before the end of the year, the general public won’t have access until next year, officials say. He claimed he is “immune” from the virus and there is a cure, dangerously misleading the American public because there is no cure and the science on immunity is not conclusive.
Trump blatantly lied by claiming the virus was “going away” even though the U.S. is averaging 59,000 new cases a day, the most since the beginning of August, and is on track to have the most new daily cases of the entire pandemic in an upcoming third surge, The New York Times reported.
Trump said the country was simply “learning to live with it.”
“Learning to live with it? Come on, we’re dying with it,” Biden responded.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said, referencing Trump’s refusal to take responsibility for the virus which has now claimed over 220,000 lives.
While Trump pushed for reopening schools and businesses for economic reasons, Biden explained that lawmakers can both protect American lives from the virus and protect the economy.
Biden advocated for helping businesses and schools get the necessary resources to reopen safely including personal protective equipment and testing materials. In contrast, Trump has threatened to cut off funding for schools if they didn’t reopen and forced states to compete for medical supplies.
Biden explained that relief aid for business, schools, and local governments has already been approved by the House since May, but Trump and Senate Republicans are standing in the way of this life or death aid. Trump falsely claimed Speaker Nancy Pelosi is blocking a stimulus deal even though the president himself called off stimulus talks and cast doubt on whether he will grant aid to thousands of suffering Americans.
While Trump knew about the severity of the virus since January, he disregarded scientific advice and downplayed the virus for months. Rather than helping American families protect themselves, as Biden pointed out, the president’s economic team warned wealthy party donors of the virus to give them a financial advantage ahead of the impending virus outbreak.
The segment on Climate change further underlined Trump’s severe incompetence on climate science.
The president rejected wind and solar energy sources calling them expensive, even though renewable energy costs are dropping and clean energy is being used in the U.S. more often than coal.
Instead of scientifically-proven ways to curb Climate change, Trump just touted his involvement with the Trillion Tree Initiative which doesn’t halt Climate change without any plans to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
On the question related to environmental racism, Trump dismissed the racially-disparate health risks for people of color living near oil refineries or chemical plants, instead bragging about saving the “vibrant” oil industry.
“Those people live on what they call fence lines,” Biden explained, calling out the president incompetence regarding the health impacts of Climate change. “He doesn’t understand this.”
In stark contrast, Biden provided a detailed response to the environmental impacts of the oil industry and his plans to address environmental racism and fund renewable energy if elected.
Biden said that he would “transition from the oil industry” and replace it with renewable energy.
“We’re going to pass the point of no return with the next eight, 10 years,” Biden explained. “Four more years of this man, eliminating all the regulations that were put in by us to clean up the climate … will put us in a position where we are going to be in real trouble.”
Biden underlined the importance of rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and creating sustainable jobs in the clean-energy industry because, as he puts it, “our health, and our jobs, are at stake.”
Source: CBS News/YouTube
After a report this week revealed that the Trump administration is unable to locate the parents of over 500 migrant children, Biden took aim at Trump’s egregious immigration policies.
“But a lot of these kids come out without the parents,” Trump stated. “They come over through cartels and through coyotes and through gangs.”
“Coyotes didn’t bring them over. Their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents,” Biden fired back at Trump’s lies. “And it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”
Trump said the migrant children were being well taken care of in detention centers. Government records show otherwise: widespread physical and sexual abuse, shooting kids with tasers during apprehension, and denying children sufficient blankets, food, clean water, and critical medical care.
The American Academy of Pediatricians called Trump’s family separation policies “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
Whenever pressed on his immigration history, Trump always blames the Obama administration even though the horrific abuses happened under Trump’s orders.
Biden responded by outlining his own immigration policy beyond just defending his former administration’s choices.
“And the fact is, I’ve made it very clear within 100 days I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people. And all of those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship,” Biden said.
When asked what he would do if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in November, Biden said he would his plan to build off the ACA, broadening coverage and adding a public option to allow the government to compete with private insurers in the health care marketplace.
Trump repeated his talking point calling Biden’s plan “socialized medicine” even though Biden ran against “Medicare for All” during the primary.
“He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden responded to Trump’s misleading accusations.
Regarding Trump’s health care plans, the president has repeatedly said he wants to repeal the ACA but does not provide a plan to help over 20 million people who rely on the ACA nor address the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
With early voting underway across the country, more than 42 million Americans have already cast their ballot.
The presidential debates have underlined what’s at stake in this election. While Trump spent most of the night attacking Biden and other Democrats, Biden summed up the gravity of this election in his closing statement.
“What is on the ballot here is the character of this country. Decency, honor, respect, treating people with dignity, making sure that everyone has an even chance. And I’m going to make sure you get that. You have not been getting it the last four years,” Biden concluded.
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