Friday 23 October 2020
When Donald Trump and Joe Biden meet again, viewers are spared a deep blow from the culture of debate as in the first TV duel. But the tone is sharp: Trump accuses Biden of corruption. The challenger blames the president for 220,000 corona deaths.
US President Donald Trump tried in the last TV debate before the election to undermine the credibility of his challenger Joe Biden. He repeatedly raised allegations that Biden’s son Hunter had done dubious business in Ukraine – and that Biden, then Vice President, allegedly profited from it.
“Joe, they call you a corrupt politician,” said the president. “So don’t pretend you’re an innocent baby.” Biden protested, “I’ve never taken a penny from a foreign source in my life.” Even his son was not guilty of anything. The debate had recently started through reports in the conservative tabloid “New York Post” about alleged emails from Fahrt that were allegedly found on a Hunter Biden laptop.
The main topics of the debate on Thursday evening in Nashville, Tennessee, were the fight against the corona crisis, help for companies and consumers, health care for Americans and racism. The debate was much more civilized than the first duel at the end of September. The candidates let each other finish speaking and largely followed the questions of the moderator Kristen Welker. They expressed their disapproval for one another with a grin or a shake of the head.
After about an hour, however, the 74-year-old president’s patience crumbled – he did not allow the moderator to stop him several times when she wanted to bring him back to the current question or to move on to the next topic. Trump is behind Biden in polls less than two weeks before the November 3rd election. The incumbent therefore had to score points in the TV debate. However, the TV duel was all in all pretty even and didn’t have a clear winner.
According to a poll by CNN, Biden made a better impression on viewers than incumbent Trump. Accordingly, 53 percent saw Biden as the winner, 39 percent saw Trump in front. When asked about their impression of who answered moderator Kristen Welker’s questions directly, 62 percent named Biden and 31 percent Trump. The question of who had shown the stronger political leader in the debate resulted in a tie of 49 to 49 percent.
Who is to blame for the pandemic?
Biden sharply criticized the incumbent for his handling of the corona pandemic: “Anyone who is responsible for so many deaths should not remain President of the United States of America.” And: “220,000 Americans are dead,” said Biden. Trump still has “no plan” for fighting the pandemic while a “dark winter” threatens. Trump, on the other hand, was again optimistic that the US could soon leave the crisis behind. “We’ll get the curve,” said the Republican. “It’s going away.”
Trump, who had infected himself and was ill, emphasized against the background of increasing case numbers that he definitely did not want any further lockdowns. “The medicine cannot be worse than the problem itself,” said the president. America is learning to live with the virus. 77-year-old Biden commented sharply: “People learn to die with it!” When accused of not taking responsibility for the crisis, Trump replied, “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault it came here. It’s not Joe’s fault. It’s China’s fault.”
Biden, popular with blacks, affirmed that there is institutional racism in America. He called Trump the most racist president. “He pours oil into every single racist fire.” The president reiterated his claim that no one had done more than he had done for black Americans except for President Abraham Lincoln with the abolition of slavery. “I’m the least racist person in this room,” he said – right next to the Afro-American Welker.
Trump also accused Biden of not making any progress for the country during his time as vice president from 2009 to 2017, including for African Americans. “You did nothing,” said Trump. “You just talk and do nothing.”
“We had a good relationship with Hitler”
On the subject of foreign policy, Trump emphasized once again that, contrary to warnings from his predecessor Barack Obama, there had been no war with North Korea during his term of office. Biden replied: “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded Europe.” Trump accused him of having too weak a foreign policy in his eight years as Vice President.
Biden reacted several times with incredulous laughs, including when Trump spoke of the fact that wind turbines “kill all birds”. The challenger emphasized: “Climate change and global warming are the next existential threat to humanity.” He will therefore rejoin the Paris climate agreement, from which the United States withdrew under Trump.
The first TV duel between the two candidates at the end of September was sunk in chaos. Trump, in particular, kept interrupting Biden and refused to let him finish. In return, Biden referred to Trump as “racists”, “liars”, “Putin’s puppies” and “the worst president America has ever had”. A second debate, originally planned for the beginning of October, broke down after the president fell ill with Covid 19.