According to a pool report, the debate venue was very quiet as Trump and Biden sparred – with one notable exception.
Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus writes, “The audience was nearly completely silent during the debate, save for one giggle when Potus quipped: ‘I know more about wind than you do. It’s extremely expensive. Kills all the birds.’”
Here’s that moment again in case you missed it:
The early verdicts are in from the pundits on social media, and it seems like the winner is … Kristen Welker.
Although some viewers also had views on the candidates:
Trump spoke for about three and a half more minutes than Biden, but the two nominees got relatively equal speaking time during the final presidential debate, according to CNN.
The final question of the night, posed to both nominees, was what message they would offer on Inauguration Day to Americans who did not vote for them.
Trump emphasized the need to rebuild the US economy, which has suffered greatly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to make our country totally successfully as it was prior to the plague coming in from China,” Trump said.
Biden responded by once again assuring the nation that he would be the president of both Democrats and Republicans.
“I’m an American president. I represent all of you, whether you voted for me or against me, and I’m going to make sure that you’re represented,” Biden said.
Reiterating a line that he has said many times on the campaign trail, Biden told Americans, “I’m going to give you hope. We’re going to move. We’re going to choose science over fiction; we’re going to choose hope over fear. We’re going to choose to move forward because we have enormous opportunities, enormous opportunities to make things better.”
With that, the final presidential debate came to a close. All that’s left now is for Americans to vote – and again, more than 48 million Americans already have.
Fact check: Unemployment for Black Americans was not quite “best” under Trump
It is true that the unemployment rate for Black Americans reached a record low during the Trump administration, hitting 5.4%. However, unemployment levels began to drop during the Obama administration, dropping from 16.8% in March 2010, to 7.8% by January 2017.
Since the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black Americans, struck – Black unemployment rates have climbed back up to 12% in September, and the racial gap in unemployment rates has widened. In September, the rate for the overall population was 7.9% and it was 7% of white Americans.
– Maanvi Singh
Final presidential debate concludes
The final presidential debate has now concluded, but the blog will have more reactions and analysis to come, so stay tuned.
Fact check: The trade deficit with China did not significantly change under Trump
Trump “caused the deficit with China to go up, not down,” Biden said. The deficit in value of American exports to China vs China’s exports to the US was $347bn in 2016 (under Obama’s administration) and $345bn in 2019 (under Trump).
– Maanvi Singh
Biden acknowledged he is in favor of transitioning from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources, which Trump jumped on to argue the Democrat would be bad for the economy.
“He takes everything out of context,” Biden said. “We have to move towards net-zero emissions.”
With just a few minutes to go in the debate, the discussion shifted to climate change.
Biden emphasized the need to expand sources of renewable energy, attacking Trump for his past comments about wind energy causing cancer.
“I know more about wind than you do,” Trump replied. “It’s very expensive. It kills the birds.”
The president insisted Biden would ban fracking, even though the Democrat has repeatedly said (and said again tonight) that he would not do so.
Biden: Trump is ‘one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history’
Trump was pressed on why Americans should support him if they are concerned about his comments on racial issues such as Black Lives Matter.
“I am the least racist person in this room,” Trump insisted.
Biden responded by saying Trump was “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history”.
“He pours fuel on every single racist fire,” Biden said, noting Trump started his 2016 campaign by attacking Mexicans as “rapists”.
“This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn,” Biden said.
Fact check: The race to the bottom on immigration policy
Donald Trump said the Obama administration built “cages”. It’s true that the Obama administration built facilities to detain immigrants. It’s also true that the Obama administration oversaw a record number of deportations.
However, unlike the Trump administration, there was no “zero tolerance” policy under Obama as there was under Trump, wherein children were routinely separated from their parents. Whereas the Trump administration has cracked down on all migrants, the Obama administration on those with criminal records.
Here’s CQ Roll Call immigration reporter Tanvi Misra’s take:
Biden made a character-based pitch for his candidacy, saying he was “anxious” to see the results of the presidential election.
“The character of the country is on the ballot. Our character is on the ballot,” Biden said.
Trump responded by resurrecting his attacks against Biden’s son, Hunter, saying, “Don’t give me this stuff about how you’re this innocent baby. Joe, they’re calling you a corrupt politician.”
The president referred to the “laptop from hell”, an apparent reference to a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s emails that is reportedly being investigated as potentially part of a foreign influence operation, which Biden noted.
“You mean the laptop is another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?” Trump said.
Biden said that it was.
The debate turned to race in America, amid a national reckoning over racism in the country.
“The fact of the matter is, there is institutional racism in America,” Biden said.
Trump, who has avoided using the phrase “institutional racism”, responded by once again arguing that he has done more for African Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln.
Trump said the only undocumented immigrants who appear for their court dates are those with the “lowest IQ”.
“Only the really – I hate to say this, but those with the lowest IQ. They might come back,” Trump said.
Fact check: Biden is, in fact, from Scranton
Trump said Biden wasn’t “really” from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Biden moved from Scranton when he was 10 years old. He is still from Scranton.
Fun fact, figure Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon is also from Scranton.
– Maanvi Singh
We’re not quite at first debate levels yet, but the relatively calm composure Trump had at the start of tonight’s debate is beginning to sour, with his interruptions and volume increasing. It hasn’t gone unnoticed: