By Hannah DiPilato
The final presidential debate took place on Thursday. Significantly less chaotic than the first debate, both candidates were able to express their opinions on certain issues and to respond to the moderator, Kristen Welker‘s, questions, for the most part.
The first unavoidable topic presented was the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Current President Donald Trump took over the first question claiming that a vaccine would be distributed as soon as a few weeks from now. He claimed the military is ready to distribute 100 million vaccinations. He also placed emphasis on the fact coronavirus is a worldwide problem as well as emphasizing his own recovery.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden came in with a rebuttal focusing on families that have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic and how Trump will not take responsibility for these deaths. He also used the statistic that a predicted 200,000 Americans would die before the end of 2020 at the current rate. Trump disagreed with this and compared coronavirus to the Swine Flu which occurred while Joe Biden was Vice President.
Welker then led the conversation to lockdowns as a result of Covid-19. Biden began by saying he plans to shut down Covid, not the country. He wants to get places with high reproduction rates under control.
Trump’s main point was that schools should reopen because children aren’t the main concern in relation to the pandemic. He talked about his son’s rapid recovery and his belief schools should open.
“I don’t look at this as blue states and red states, we’re the United States,” said Biden. However, he quickly followed this statement by saying upticks have been seen mostly in red states. Trump responded that America should not shut down, but instead just protect the elderly and those at high risk.
After a significant amount of time discussing coronavirus, the topic switched to national security. Biden questioned why Russia, China and Iran are interfering with the election and Trump has not taken any measures to handle this. Trump refuted this saying nobody is tougher on Russia than himself and pointed fingers at Biden saying Russia is paying Biden a lot of money.
Biden then explained how he has never taken money from another country but points a finger at Trump who has overseas accounts, pressuring Trump to reveal his tax records. Trump then explained he prepays his taxes and that he would love to release the taxes as soon as he can. He stressed that the IRS “treats him very badly.”
The next main topic of the debate was American families, beginning with a focus on healthcare. Trump wants to create a healthcare plan that is better than Obamacare while always protecting those with preexisting conditions. He accused Biden of wanting to eliminate private healthcare.
Biden responded that he supports private insurance and no one would lose their private insurance under his plan. He said he wants to continue Obamacare as Bidencare He explained he wants everyone to have a public healthcare option and he plans to lower drug prices and insurance premiums. Trump also compared Biden to the United States Senator Bernie Sanders, but Biden said he disagreed with Sanders’ plans.
Welker asked both candidates if this was the right time to raise the minimum wage considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump explained he would consider raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, but that minimum wage heavily depends on the state. On the other hand, Biden believes everyone deserves a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour in order to live without multiple jobs.
Many people have previously had issues with how Trump has handled immigration laws in the past. His views have not seemed to change since he said illegal immigrant children are brought by “coyotes and bad people” to America as a ploy to get into the country.
Biden’s response was that the children were not brought by “bad people” but parents that deserve equality. If he were to be elected, he plans to make more undocumented people citizens and able to stay in the United States. Trump then responded that if you take in a rapist or murder ICE then has to come to find them and only those with the “lowest IQ” will come back to get caught.
The Black Lives Matter movement has brought systemic racism into the media, so Welker ensured both candidates addressed these issues. Biden gave a very sympathetic response where he spoke about wanting to learn more about systemic racism and that he understands the hardships families of color go through. He touched on white privilege and institutionalized racism as well and believes there should be less imprisonment for drug problems.
Trump claimed that “no one has done what I’ve done” regarding racism. He claimed he has great relationships and that that he “is the least racist person in the room.” This was ironic considering the Kristen Welker is a person of color. He also claimed he has done the most for racism since Abraham Lincoln.
Nearing the end of the debate, the topic of conversation was climate change. Trump explained he created a lot of “programs” to battle climate change but was being incredibly vague. He explained America has a very good carbon emission and he defended his decision to back out of the Paris Accord.
“We don’t have much time, we’re going to pass the point of no return, return the next eight to 10 years,” said Biden on the topic. Biden wants more industries to transition to clean energy and he has a plan to have 100% clean energy by 2050.
At the end of the debate, each candidate was asked to speak directly to those that did not vote for them if they were elected. Trump explained he wanted to make the country successful, how it was before the pandemic. He expressed that he has been able to have the best unemployment rate for minorities and how he wants to cut taxes, unlike Biden.
Biden clarified that he represents everyone, whether someone voted for him or not. He said he would emphasize hope over fear and science over fiction. He wants to help the economy, end systemic racism and promote clean energy. He concluded by saying what is on the ballot is the character of the United States.
The aftermath of the debate on social media was less prominent compared to the first debate, but there were still a few highlights. Rapper 50 Cent said he will be voting for Trump because of Biden’s tax plan.
“Yeah, I don’t want to be 20 Cent. 62 percent is a very, very, bad idea. I don’t like it,” said the rapper on Tuesday.