President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden made their final arguments to voters at their second and final presidential debate, squaring off in Nashville, Tennessee, with less than two weeks until the election.
The debate was a much more orderly affair than the first time the two candidates met in September, with relatively few interruptions and stricter controls on speaking time. The 90-minute event featured with 15-minute segments touching on COVID-19, foreign policy, the economy, race, climate change and more.
The president, who is lagging in the polls, defended his record on the coronavirus pandemic while criticizing Biden for failing to act on a variety of Democratic proposals while he was vice president, warning that Democratic priorities would hamper the economy.
“You will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen” if Biden is elected, Mr. Trump said. He also brought up recent reports about Biden’s son Hunter’s overseas business dealings, while defending his own foreign business ventures.
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Biden blasted Mr. Trump for his handling of the pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans, and said he had never been involved in his son’s business deals, calling the president’s accusations “malarkey.” He often turned to directly address the audience at home over the course of the night.
“Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America,” he said at one point. “I will take care of this. I will end this. I will make sure we have a plan.”
Both candidates were well aware that the debate presented their last opportunity to make their case before a large national audience, with just 12 days before Election Day.
Candidates close with Inauguration Day pitch to voters who didn’t support them
In the final question of the final presidential debate before Election Day, Mr. Trump and Biden were asked to relay what they would say on Inauguration Day to voters who did not support their candidacies.
Mr. Trump focused his remarks on the economy and touted the low unemployment rates across a variety of demographics.
“We have to make our country totally successful as it was prior to the plague coming over from China,” he said.
Mr. Trump claimed that before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the U.S. economy, Democrats “wanted to unify.”
“Success is going to bring us together,” he said. “We are on the road to success.”
Mr. Trump warned that if Biden is elected, “you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
Biden, meanwhile, said he will be a president who represents all Americans, including those who did not cast their ballot for him, and said he will put “science over fiction” and “hope over fear.”
“We’re going to choose to move forward because we have enormous opportunities, enormous opportunities to make things better,” he said. “We can grow this economy, we can deal with the systemic racism, and at the same time we can make sure that our economy is being run and moved and motivated by clean energy creating millions of new jobs. That’s the fact.”
Biden reiterated that the “character of this country” is on the ballot.
“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,” he said.
The final presidential debate concluded just before 10:40 p.m., clocking it at just over 90 minutes.
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