President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met for the second time in Nashville, Tennessee for the final presidential debate of 2020. The often contentious debate was markedly different from the first time the two presidential candidates met with one another as the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that each candidates' microphones would be muted during the other candidates' initial two minute response. The change in format made for a much different confrontation this time around as both candidates made their last-minute appeals to voters.
With less than two weeks to the election and with millions of votes already cast in multiple states across the country, Trump and Biden used their time to plead their case to the voters.
Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News began the debate with a question about COVID-19 and the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.
Health experts say one of the key things that will lead us back to normal is the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. President Trump appeared upbeat about the development of an effective vaccine for the virus, but said it may not happen within weeks as he has previously claimed.
President Trump was also asked about his experience with COVID-19 and how that has helped him in the nation's response to the virus.
Trump also said the country couldn't afford to stay locked down indefinitely.
The president also defended his response to the coronavirus, saying his administration's response resulted in far fewer casualties than health experts initially predicted.
The night grew contencious as Trump repeatedly brought up a story published by the New York Post that indicated Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, had engaged in unethical practices while Biden was still in office. Biden denied having taking a penny from "any foreign source ever in my life" and raised the issue of Trump's tax returns.
Another topic raised Thursday evening was the candidates' positions on trade and foreign policy. President Trump defended his trade war with China, saying he had given $28 billion to American farmers.
Biden also denied accusations from Trump that he or his son had done anything inappropriate when it came to money from foreign sources.
Biden also appeared to try and refocus the debate on American families, something Trump derided as a "typical political statement."
Biden also promised voters that he would pass a new version of Obamacare, which he dubbed 'Bidencare', that would also include a public option for Americans.
Trump repeatedly tried tying Biden to some policies endorsed by the far left-wing of the Democratic party, but Biden responded, saying Trump was confused and must think he was running against a different Democrat on stage.
Trump was also pressed about recent revelations published by The New York Times that he had a private bank account in China and had paid taxes to the Communist country.
Another topic raised during the final presidential debate was the issue of race. Biden did not waste any time, saying "The fact of the matter is, there is institutional racism in America. And we have always said — we've never lived up to it — 'We hold these truth to be self-evident. All men and women are created equal.' Well guess what? We have never, ever lived up to it."
Trump tried countering Biden's accusations of racism, saying that he was the "least racist person in this room."
Trump also told the audience that the Obama/Biden administration had been the reason he had run for president in the first place.
When asked what his plan to tackle climate change might be, Trump demurred, saying that while he loved the environment, he would not sacrifice jobs because of the Paris Accords.
Photo: Getty Images