Kristen Welcker moderated the last presidential debate before the election
The final debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took place Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The event was moderated by Kristen Welcker of NBC News and sponsored by the Commission of Presidential debates.
The debate followed health protocols with a small audience and social distancing, and the two candidates did not shake hands.
There were six topics presented, split into 15-minute sections. Each candidate had two minutes of uninterrupted time to speak, followed with open discussion where both microphones remained on.
The first debate had several interruptions and the moderator wanted to prevent that from happening again. “The goal is for you to hear each other and for the American people to hear every word,” Welker said.
The night began with speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic as the country is seeing record number of cases and 16,000 have died since the first debate, Welcker said. Trump started the conversation.
“It is a worldwide pandemic. You see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now,” Trump said. “The mortality rate is down.” He mentioned the recent spikes in Florida, Texas and Arizona are now down.
President Trump acknowledged his recent experience with the virus. “I got better and had something they gave me…I got better very fast,” he said.
In reference to a vaccine, “it’s ready and going to be announced within weeks,” President Trump said. He later mentioned it wasn’t a guarantee, but it will be ready by the end of the year.
Biden opposed Trump’s response about the vaccine. “The science will see it and know it,” he said. “We are about to go into a dark winter…and he [Trump] has no clear plan or prospect that a vaccine will be available for a majority of the American people before the middle of next year.”
Biden talked about the importance of wearing protective gear. “If we just wore these masks…we can save 100,000 lives,” he said. Biden contradicted Trump in saying the President has no comprehensive plan in fighting the virus, and he will encourage everyone to wear masks and conduct rapid testing if he is elected into office.
“We are learning to live with it,” Trump said. Biden argued it’s the opposite. “People are learning to die with it. You folks at home will have an empty chair at the kitchen table this morning,” Biden said pointing at the camera.
On the topic of shutdown, the two candidates have differing views. “We can’t close up our nation or we are not going to have a nation,” President Trump said. Biden responded, “I will shutdown the virus, not the country.”
The next topic moved to national security, with the concern of outside influence with the upcoming election. Biden expressed any country that interferes with the election “will pay a price.”
Trump claimed Biden’s family received 3.5 million from Russia. “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life,” Biden opposed.
Biden accused President Trump of his secret bank account with China, to which he said was opened in 2013 and closed in 2015.
Biden expressed sharing his taxes from the past 22 years and confronted Trump about not publicly releasing his. “What are you hiding, why are you unwilling?” Biden said. “I am going to release them as soon as I can,” Trump responded. “Over the last number of years, tens of millions of dollars I prepaid.”
Welker asked Biden about the work his son, Hunter Biden, did in Ukraine when he was Vice President. “Nothing was unethical,” Biden said.
On the topic of healthcare, Trump said his plan is to terminate the Affordable Care Act without the individual mandate. “We will always protect people with pre-existing [conditions],” Trump said. “I would like to terminate Obamacare and come up with a brand new, beautiful health care.”
Biden then explained his side to create ‘Biden Care,’ which would be Obama Care with options. “If you qualify for Medicaid and do not have the wherewithal…you automatically enroll,” Biden said. “Health care is not a privilege, it’s a right.” Biden added that his plan will reduce premiums and drug costs.
Welcker moved the conversation to the issue of immigration and kids being separated from their parents.
Trump started the conversation. “We now have a strong a border as we ever had,” he said. “We are trying very hard, but a lot of these kids come over through cartels, through coyotes, and through gangs.”
Biden argued the statement. “These 500 plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border.”
Race in America
After some debate, the next section focused on racism. Biden expressed the institutional racism in America. He reclaimed his plan for better healthcare, education and economic opportunities and to be “free from violence.”
Trump touched on the criminal justice and prison reforms. “Tremendous investments are being made,” he said. He acknowledged giving the black community long term funding.
Moving the conversation to criminal justice, Biden claimed “No one should be going to jail because they have a drug problem. They should be going to rehabilitation.”
Trump accused Biden of not taking action during his time in office as Vice President.
The final section discussed climate change and the two parties’ differing views.
“I want the cleanest, crystal clear water and clean air,” Trump said, claiming the country is energy independent.
Biden said his plan will create jobs and invest in cleaning the environment.
The night ended with the candidates speaking directly to the people. “Success is going to bring us together,” Trump said. To which Biden responded, “I’m an American President [if elected], I will represent all of you.”
The final presidential debate was roughly 93 minutes. The election takes place on Nov. 3.