Final Presidential Debate


Melanie Wang

Donald Trump and Joe Biden battled in the final debate before the election on Nov 3. The president and former vice president clashed at the debate yesterday, October 22, 2020. The two men talked about their opinions on the future of the oil and gas industry, coronavirus, foreign policy, and global warming. This debate occurred at 9:00-10:30pm ET and was held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate was in person with each individual socially distanced for safety. 

Debate officials have learned from the previous debate event on September 29, which was hampered by interruptions from the president. This time they introduced a mic mute option for the moderator, Kristen Welker.

President Trump and the Former Vice president had different views on the global warming policy. Trump emphasized economic priorities such as clean air and water, and referenced the inequity of the Paris Climate Agreement to support his actions. On the other hand, Vice President Biden claimed the use of oil and climate change was “an existential threat to humanity,” and suggested that the country could slow climate change while using solar and wind energy which are not harmful to the climate. Biden emphasized the need to expand renewable energy sources. President Trump explains how the switch to solar would ruin millions of jobs, saying “I will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies…It would have destroyed our businesses.”

The Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC questioned Trump on Texans living near refineries who fear pollution is making them sick. Trump responded with “The families that we’re talking about are employed heavily, and they’re making a lot of money, more money than they’ve ever made.” Biden Responded with “it doesn’t matter what you’re paying them, it matters how you keep them safe,” emphasizing the importance of switching to solar energy. 

Leading onto the Coronavirus, President Trump and former Vice President Biden covered the outbreaks and what occurred. Trump claimed the vaccine would be out in weeks, saying “I take full responsibility…It’s not my fault that it came here…It’s China’s fault.” Biden responded that there is “no clear plan” to bring the virus under control. Trump supported himself by saying he “closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China,” and claiming to have saved hundreds of thousands of lives from the virus through the actions of his administration. Biden countered the argument and said the president lacked a clear national strategy, citing that more than 222,000 lives have been lost across the US, with 8.3 million infections. “He has no clear plan, and there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year,” added Biden. 

The last major topic they covered was racism in America. The moderator asked the President about the black lives matter subject, as Trump responded to the question, he claimed to be the least racist person in this room,” and compared himself favorably with Abraham Lincoln as the least racist president. Biden talked about black parents having to talk to their children about interactions with the police. Trump repeated his claim that “Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump…And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln,” he said, before adding, “I’m the least racist person in this room.”

A poll from the broadcasters in CNN found 53 percent of the voters in their instant poll thought Joe Biden won the debate. CNN believes that Trump performed poorly in comparison, with just 38 percent convinced he came out on top. Although from Fox News, James Woods, a conservative actor “declared Trump the clear winner, as did most of the president’s supporters.”

As has been the case throughout this election, opinions continue to be divided staunchly along party lines.