NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Election Day is in less than two weeks. Early voting is ongoing in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. And more than 47 million voters had already cast their ballots around the country when the final 90-minute debate started on Thursday at Belmont University in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden sharply disagreed on the coronavirus pandemic, Obamacare, racial justice, environmental protection, and immigration policy. But undecided voters watched a less chaotic debate — mostly thanks to a new mute button.
While Trump, 74, said the coronavirus is “going away,” Biden, 77, promised he will end the pandemic. Biden also said Americans face “a dark winter.” Epidemiologists have warned infections are more likely when there are crowds indoors which will happen more during the winter.
Trump’s dig: “We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does."
COVID-19 has left more than 225,000 people in the United States dead, including more than 16,000 in Florida, where Miami-Dade and Broward counties have felt the worst of impact.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States,” Biden said.
Trump promised he is going to terminate the Affordable Care Act and replace it “with a brand new beautiful health care” that protects coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
Biden said he does not support socialist medicine. During his campaign, Trump has associated Biden with the Democratic left, so Biden has continued to say that none of his policies support socialism.
“He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden said. “I beat all those other people.”
During their exchange about the Black Lives Matter movement, Biden accused Trump of pouring “fuel on every single racist fire.” Trump said he has made improvements on criminal justice reform that prove otherwise, and also said that he was “the least racist person" in the room.
Trump and Biden have different views on global warming. Trump said the Paris climate accord was designed to hurt businesses. He also accused Biden of wanting to “close down the oil industry,” but Biden said he supports a gradual transition “over time” to renewable energy.
Trump’s refute on the use of wind energy caused Biden to laugh.
“I know more about wind than you do; it’s extremely expensive," Trump said, adding it "kills all the birds.”
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Biden continued to ask Trump to release his tax returns: “What are you hiding?”
Both candidates accused each other of being corrupt politicians. Trump said he had closed the bank account in China that the New York Times reported about in a recent story about him paying only $750 a year in federal taxes. Trump also said he had “prepaid tens of millions of dollars” in taxes. In a counter-attack, Trump’s campaign has continued to focus on Hunter Biden’s alleged business dealings.
“I don’t make money from China, you do," Trump said about the unfounded claims. “I don’t make money from Ukraine, you do.”
Biden dismissed the allegations as Russian propaganda. Trump’s campaign released a statement about the debate late Thursday night saying the president had “crushed it.”
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Visit the Vote 2020 page to learn more about the election in South Florida