Trump and Biden face off in the last debate preceding the 2020 presidential election

Will Trump remain in power, or is it time for a new era of Biden? America decides Nov. 3


The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden leading to the Nov. 3 election took place on Oct. 22 and was held by the Commission of Presidential Debates at Belmont University in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo from

For the first time in presidential debate history, the mics of the candidates were muted during the initial first two minutes following a question from the moderator allowing each candidate to answer without interruption. 

The debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden leading to the Nov. 3 election took place on Oct. 22 and was held by the Commission of Presidential Debates at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The debate was moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News and took place over the course of 90 minutes. Historically, the final presidential debate has focused on each candidate’s foreign policy plan, however, due to Trump contracting COVID-19, the second planned debate was canceled and instead each candidate held town hall meetings at the same time, broadcast from two different networks. 

This change in the traditional process changed the topics addressed in the final debate, with the first question revolving around how each candidate planned to lead the country during the next stage of coronavirus. 

Because of the mic-cutting policies in place, Trump was, arguably, the most respectful and presidential that he has been the entire course of his reign in politics. He would be seen throughout the night catching himself from interrupting and holding back thoughts he may have otherwise blurted out like in previous debates. 

“We can’t close up our nation or else you’re not going to have a nation,” Trump said in response to Welker’s first question. 

Trump focused heavily on the past and did not mention much about policy, however, he said a  vaccine is coming within weeks and that the military will distribute the vaccine. Trump also took the opportunity to push the drug he was given in the hospital for treatment of COVID-19, Regeneron.

Biden responded to Trump by making it clear he does not have any intention of imposing mandatory lockdowns.

“I’m [going to] shut down the virus, not the country,” Biden said.

Biden said Trump is responsible for all COVID-19 deaths and added Trump has no plan to deal with the ongoing pandemic. He said if he won the presidency he would encourage mask use, implement rapid testing programs, create national safety standards for schools and businesses and provide them with the funding to do so. 

With Trump unable to interrupt, Biden seemed arguably much less shaken than in the first debate and was able to focus more on the issues at hand. As the debate continued it was clear that the mic cutting process was helpful to the debate, however, the candidates still found ways to interrupt or extend sections with both candidates asking to say “one last thing” to have the last word on an issue. 

From here the debate quickly spiraled after a question from the moderator about interference from other countries led to a debate over the candidates’ personal finances, including Trump’s tax returns. 

In response, Trump said that he had already prepaid his taxes and that the real problem is Biden taking $3.5 million from the Russian government, however, Biden says it never happened stating nothing was out of line with his involvement with Ukraine. 

Welker asked Trump how can voters know he doesn’t have any foreign conflicts of interest.

“I have bank accounts all over the world, I’m a businessman,” Trump said.

Trump said that voters should trust him because he closed his accounts in China before running for president, and said that Kim Jong Un is his friend and there is no war with North Korea.

Welker asked Biden what he would do about the constant threat of North Korea.

“We are gonna do something about it so they can not hurt us, “ Biden said.

The debate moved forward and each candidate was asked about their plan for healthcare. 

“Obamacare is no good,” Trump said.

Trump said Biden will give socialized medicine and that he wants to come up with a new better plan for the country long term. 

Biden said he wants to add a public option to the Affordable Care Act and called it “Bidencare”. He said he will lower drug prices and will not eliminate private insurance.

 “People deserve to have affordable health care, period,” Biden said.  

The following questions of the debate focused on immigration and race.

Welker asked Trump how will the families of children he separated at the border ever be reunited?

Instead of addressing the question, Trump said he built the wall and added that he believes many immigrants are coming over through cartels and gangs, and many of them are murderers and rapists. He also said that the separation of families did not begin with him and actually started during Obama’s presidency.

“Who built the cages?” Trump asked rhetorically. 

Biden disputed Trump’s claims about the cartel and gangs but neglected to address his role in the creation of these cages in ICE detention centers.

“These kids came with parents, they were separated from their parents…kids were ripped from their arms and separated and now those kids are alone and they have nowhere to go,” Biden said.

Biden said that within his first 100 days as president he will put in place an easier path to citizenship.

Biden was asked if he understands why the parents of children of color fear for their children.

“I do, there is institutional racism in America,” Biden said. 

He said as president he wants to give people of color better access to healthcare and schooling as well as access to wealth and the ability to be free from violence. 

“Biden has never done a thing except the crime bill [in] 1994,“ Trump said. “Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump,” Trump said. 

Trump was asked what he would say to Americans that say he is contributing to hatred and racial strife.

“The first time I saw [Black Lives Matter]… I thought it was a terrible thing,” Trump said.

While Trump said this, he also added he is the least racist person in the room. 

Biden was asked why the families of people affected by the crime bill should vote for him. 

“It was a mistake, we should not send anyone to jail, they should be going into treatment; it was a mistake to pass those laws relating to drugs,” Biden said.  

The final question of the debate asked both candidates what they would say in their address to Americans who did not vote for them.

Trump said success is going to bring us together and added Biden wants to raise taxes, which he thinks will push America further from that success.

Biden’s response was starkly different from Trump’s and he avoided mentioning Trump at all in his address to the American people.

“I represent all of you whether you voted for me or against me… we are going to choose to move forward…we can grow this economy and we can deal with systemic racism,” Biden said.