Otago Daily Times

Ri­vals clash on Covid in fi­nal de­bate

[Trump] pours fuel on ev­ery sin­gle racist fire. This guy has a dog whis­tle as big as a foghorn

- U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Donald Trump · Joe Biden · Joe · Tennessee · Nashville · United States of America · Ohio · Beijing · Ukraine · New York City · Abraham Lincoln · U.S. Supreme Court · Pennsylvania · Rivals · Nashville, Indiana · Hunter

NASHVILLE: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Demo­cratic chal­lenger Joe Bi­den of­fered sharply con­trast­ing views on the coro­n­avirus pan­demic at yes­ter­day’s fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate, seek­ing to per­suade the few re­main­ing un­de­cided vot­ers 12 days be­fore the Novem­ber 3 elec­tion.

Trump adopted a more re­strained tone than he did dur­ing the chaotic first de­bate in Septem­ber, when he re­peat­edly in­ter­rupted Bi­den. But yes­ter­day’s clash still fea­tured plenty of per­sonal at­tacks be­tween them, and Trump kept fact­check­ers busy by lev­el­ling un­founded cor­rup­tion ac­cu­sa­tions at Bi­den and his fam­ily.

The tele­vised en­counter in Nashville, Ten­nessee, rep­re­sented one of Trump’s last re­main­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­shape a cam­paign dom­i­nated by a pan­demic that has killed more than 221,000 peo­ple in the United States.

‘‘Any­one who’s re­spon­si­ble for that many deaths should not re­main pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica,’’ Bi­den said.

Trump de­fended his ap­proach to the out­break and said the coun­try could not af­ford to close busi­nesses again.

‘‘We’re learn­ing to live with it,’’ said Trump, who has played down the virus for months.

‘‘We have no choice.’’ ‘‘Learn­ing to live with it?’’ Bi­den re­torted. ‘‘Come on. We’re dy­ing with it.’’

Trump as­serted that a vac­cine was po­ten­tially ‘‘weeks’’ away. Most ex­perts, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, have said a vac­cine is un­likely to be widely avail­able un­til mid­2021.

Sev­eral US states, in­clud­ing the swing state of Ohio, re­ported record sin­gle­day in­creases in Covid­19 in­fec­tions yes­ter­day, ev­i­dence the pan­demic is ac­cel­er­at­ing anew.

Trump, whose in­stinct re­mains to run as an out­sider, por­trayed Bi­den as a ca­reer politi­cian whose nearly 50­year record was in­sub­stan­tial. But Bi­den re­turned again and again to Trump’s nearly four years as pres­i­dent, point­ing to the eco­nomic dam­age the virus has done to peo­ple’s lives.

After an open­ing seg­ment on the pan­demic, the clash piv­oted to ex­changes over whether ei­ther can­di­date had im­proper for­eign en­tan­gle­ments.

Trump re­peated his ac­cu­sa­tions that Bi­den and his son Hunter en­gaged in un­eth­i­cal prac­tices in China and Ukraine. No ev­i­dence has been ver­i­fied to sup­port the al­le­ga­tions, and Bi­den called them false and dis­cred­ited. He de­fended his fam­ily and said un­equiv­o­cally that he had never made ‘‘a sin­gle penny’’ from a for­eign coun­try, be­fore ac­cus­ing Trump of try­ing to dis­tract Amer­i­cans.

‘‘There’s a rea­son why he’s bring­ing up all this malarkey,’’ Bi­den said, look­ing di­rectly into the cam­era. ‘‘It’s not about his fam­ily and my fam­ily. It’s about your fam­ily, and your fam­ily’s hurt­ing badly.’’

He ac­cused Trump of avoid­ing pay­ing taxes, cit­ing a New York

in­ves­ti­ga­tion that re­ported Trump’s tax re­turns show he paid al­most no fed­eral tax over more than 20 years.

Trump said he had paid ‘‘mil­lions’’. He again said he would re­lease his re­turns when a long­stand­ing au­dit was com­pleted.

The can­di­dates clashed over health­care, China pol­icy and race re­la­tions, Bi­den say­ing Trump was ‘‘one of the most racist pres­i­dents’’ in his­tory.

‘‘He pours fuel on ev­ery sin­gle racist fire,’’ he said.

‘‘This guy has a dog whis­tle as big as a foghorn.’’

Trump re­sponded by crit­i­cis­ing Bi­den’s au­thor­ship of a 1994 crime Bill that in­creased in­car­cer­a­tion of mi­nor­ity de­fen­dants while as­sert­ing that he had done more for Black Amer­i­cans than any pres­i­dent with the ‘‘pos­si­ble’’ ex­cep­tion of Abra­ham Lin­coln in the 1860s.

Bi­den crit­i­cised Trump’s ef­fort to per­suade the US Supreme Court to in­val­i­date the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act. Trump said he wanted to re­place it with some­thing ‘‘much bet­ter’’ that would of­fer the same pro­tec­tions, even though the Ad­min­is­tra­tion has yet to pro­pose a com­pre­hen­sive health­care plan de­spite a prom­ise to do so for years.

Bi­den said his en­vi­ron­men­tal plan would ‘‘tran­si­tion from the oil in­dus­try’’, prompt­ing Trump to go on the at­tack.

‘‘He is go­ing to de­stroy the oil in­dus­try,’’ Trump said. ‘‘Will you re­mem­ber that, Texas? Will you re­mem­ber that, Penn­syl­va­nia?’’

Trump’s win­dow to in­flu­ence the out­come may be clos­ing: a record 47 mil­lion Amer­i­cans al­ready have cast bal­lots. — Reuters

Joe Bi­den

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REUTERS Now see here . . . Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den wag fin­gers dur­ing their sec­ond cam­paign de­bate in Nashville, Ten­nessee.
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