Key quotes from the final 2020 presidential debate
What did you think of the last presidential debate?
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for the final 2020 presidential debate on October 22, 2020. Here were some of the key quotes and moments.
What Would You Say To Those Who Didn't Vote for You if Elected?
“We have to make our country totally successfully as it was prior to the plague coming in from China."
- "Success is going to bring us together," he says, accusing Biden of wanting to raise taxes and regulations.
"I am an American president. I represent all of you whether you vote for me or against me. I will give you hope. We will choose science over fiction, hope over fear. We’re going to choose to move forward because we have enormous opportunities, enormous opportunities to make things better.”
- "What is on the ballot here is the character of this country."
- Trump asks Biden if he would end the oil industry. Biden: "I would transition from the oil industry, yes." Trump: "Oh that's a big statement." Biden adds he wants to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, and hold China accountable.
Trump to Biden: "I know more about wind than you do. It’s very expensive. It kills the birds.”
- Biden says he has never been against fracking and rules out banning fracking. Trump says he's said it on tape and Biden challenges him to play the tape.
- “He takes everything out of context,” Biden said. “We have to move towards net-zero emissions.”
- Biden in July 2020 proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord — a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets — which was a major blow to the global response to the climate crisis.
Racism In America
“The character of the country is on the ballot. Our character is on the ballot,” Biden said.
- On race relations, Biden says black parents have to warn their kids "because you are in fact the victim" no matter how much they earn. "There is institutional racism in America" and says "we've never lived up" to America's ideals.
“I never had to tell my daughter if she's pulled over make sure she puts, for a traffic stop, put both hands on top of the wheel and don't reach for the glove box because someone might shoot you,” Biden said.
- Defending his past comments after describing Black Lives Matter "as a symbol of hate," Trump says he has "great relationships with all people. Trump once again argued that he has done more for African Americans than any president since - perhaps - Abraham Lincoln. He adds he is "the least racist person in this room."
- Biden shoots back: "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire. Every single one."
“This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn,” Biden said.
The parents of 545 children separated during the Trump admin’s "zero tolerance policy" cannot be located.
- Biden says they were separated because the administration "ripped children" from parents.
- Biden promises to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients.
“And the fact is, I’ve made it very clear within 100 days I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people. And all of those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship. The idea that they are being sent home by this guy and they want to do that is they’ve gone to a country they’ve never seen before.”
Helping American Families
Trump says the House's COVID relief bill was "really a big bailout for badly run Democrat cities and states." Biden responded:
“I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states. What I see is America, the United States.”
- Biden asked if he thinks it's the right time to raise the minimum wage to $15. He says yes, because "we're going to have to bail them out too" referring to small businesses.
- On a COVID bill, Trump says he can't get it through because "Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to approve it."
"She thinks it helps her politically, I think it hurts her politically."
Affordable Care Act
- After Trump accused Biden of supporting “socialized medicine”, the Democratic nominee said the president was “confused” about who he was running against.
"He's a very confused guy. He thinks he's running against somebody else. He's running against Joe Biden."
- Biden is asked what he will do if Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare. Biden: "What I'm going to do is pass ObamaCare with a public option--called BidenCare."
“Healthcare is not a privilege, its a right. Everyone should have the right to have affordable health care.”
- Echoing his comments to “60 Minutes,” Trump said he hoped the supreme court would dismantle the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). “Obamacare is no good,” Trump said. “What we’d like to do is terminate it.” (The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit currently before the supreme court that could lead to the dismantling of the ACA.)
Officials from national security agencies are warning the public about efforts by Iran and Russia to undermine the 2020 election.
- Biden defended his son Hunter’s business activities in Ukraine and China before pivoting to an attack on Trump:
“The guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy - trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me."
- Trump says he has had success in North Korea, and says it was a "mess" before he got into office.
- Biden (once again) called on Trump to release his tax returns, noting the president has been promising to release them since his 2016 campaign.
“Show us. Just show us. Stop playing around."
- Biden says, “There’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarkey. There’s a reason for it. He doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family. And your family’s hurting badly."
- Trump says Biden got $3.5 million from Russia via the former mayor of Moscow. "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life," Biden says. (U.S. authorities are investigating whether recently published emails - purporting to detail the business dealings of Joe Biden's son in Ukraine and China - are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort campaign.)
- “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life,” Biden said. “We learned that this President paid 50 times the tax in China (that he has in the US), has a secret bank account with China, does business in China, and, in fact is talking about me taking money? I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever, ever.”
- Trump downplays his campaign's fundraising struggles:
"We don't need money. We have plenty of money."
- Moderator Kristen Welker pressed Trump on his comments earlier this week attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “disaster” and other health experts as “idiots." Trump: Fauci is "allowed to make mistakes, he's a good person."
- Biden says Trump was told this was a serious virus in January, and went on record and said he didn't tell people. "Americans don't panic, he panicked," Biden says.
- Trump said Biden criticized his decision to shut down access to China due to the coronavirus pandemic as “xenophobic.” Biden's response: “He is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China."
"I'm going to shut down the virus, not the country," Biden says.
- Biden says he wants to make things totally transparent in term of the process for a vaccine, warning about a "dark winter" ahead. Trump says "we can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does." Biden says people aren't learning to live with the virus, as Trump claims, they're "learning to die with it" under Trump.
- Trump claims that a coronavirus vaccine is coming in a matter of weeks. Asked if that was a guarantee, Trump said:
“No, it’s not a guarantee, but I think it will be by the end of the year.”
- “You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this: Anyone who’s responsible for not taking control, in fact… saying I take no responsibility initially, anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said, referencing Trump telling reporters he takes no responsibility for the virus.
- Welker, the moderator, noted that infectious disease experts have said it will take months before a vaccine is widely available and masks will continue to be necessary well into 2021.
“I think my timeline is going to be more accurate,” Trump said.
- More than 222,000 people have died from coronavirus in America.
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