The second and final presidential debate, held tonight from Nashville, Tennessee, gave the American people one last chance to see the two candidates before they head to the polls. With 40 million Americans who have already cast their ballot, it remains to be seen what impact the debate will have.
For the first time in a presidential debate, the opposing candidate was muted for the first two minutes while the candidate receiving the question responded. This led to a more productive, civil and substantive discussion as compared to the first debate.
There were six topics discussed tonight in 15-minute increments, including the coronavirus pandemic, American families, race in America, national security, climate change and leadership.
Asked about the coronavirus pandemic by the moderator, NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker, President Trump said, “As you know, 2.2 million people modeled out were expected to die. We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China. It’s a worldwide pandemic… The mortality rate is down 85%… we’re fighting it and we’re fighting it hard.”
The vice president then pointed the blame for the pandemic to President Trump.
“Anyone whose responsible for not taking control, in fact not saying I’m, I take no responsibility initially, anyone whose responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Vice President Biden responded.
As the conversation turned to national security, the moderator brought up a recently breaking story regarding an allegation that the vice president may have been involved with his son’s overseas business dealings.
“Nothing was unethical, here’s what the deal. With regard to Ukraine, we had this whole question about whether or not because he was on the board, I later learned of Burisma, a company, that somehow I had done something wrong… My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, uh, what are you talking about, China,” the vice president responded.
As one of his guests tonight, President Trump brought along Tony Bobulinski, a business associate of Hunter Biden, who spoke to the press prior to the debate. Bobluinski claimed that he has direct knowledge that Vice President Joe Biden discussed foreign business dealings with Hunter, despite claims from the vice president that he has never discussed overseas business dealings with his son.
In one email, in a discussion over a remuneration package regarding the now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co., Bobulinski confirmed that a proposed equity split included “10 held by H for the big guy.” He also confirmed that “H” is a reference to Hunter holding 10% of the company’s equity, and that “the Big Guy” is former vice president Joe Biden.
“Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my Chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing,” Bobulinski said.
Regarding the economy, President Trump spoke out forcefully against lockdowns.
“I want to open the schools… we have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country. You can’t do this; we can’t keep this country closed… People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide, there’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level no one has ever seen before… the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself… he’ll close down the country.”
Vice President Biden responded, “We ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We ought to be able to safely open, but what they need resources to open. You need to be able to, for example, if you’re going to open a business, have social distancing within the business. You need to have, if you have a restaurant, you need to have plexiglass dividers so people cannot infect one another. You need to be in a position where you can take testing rapidly and know whether a person is in fact infected.”