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Summarizing the second and final Presidential debate on Thursday night

By Collin Atwood

The second presidential debate, which was originally scheduled to take place on Oct. 15, was held on Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. 

The first presidential debate was on Sept. 29 and was remembered by most as unorganized and barely watchable. The two candidates, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, interrupted one another all night. 

In their second attempt at a professional presidential debate, the two candidates seemed to understand the meaning of “without interruption.”

For the most part, Kristen Welker, the moderator for the debate, seemed to have things under control and was able to talk about each topic and kept the interruptions to a minimum. This debate also allowed the commission to mute the candidates’ microphones once their time to speak has ended. 

Welker opened up the debate with COVID-19 being the first topic. She started off by asking President Trump how he would lead America in the next stage of the coronavirus crisis. 

President Trump opened his answer by stating that 2.2 million people were expected to die and that the big spikes in numbers of cases in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona are now gone. President Trump also states that a vaccine could be available in upcoming weeks. 

“We’re rounding the corner, it’s going away,” President Trump said. 

When asked the same question, Biden wanted it to be clear that “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain President of the United States of America.” 

Biden says that he would make sure everyone is encouraged to wear a mask. He also added that he would set national standards so that everyone could open up schools and businesses safely. 

“I will take care of this, I will end this, and I will make sure we have a plan,” Biden said. 

The second topic of the debate was focused on national security and the involvement of foriegn countries in the election. Welker first asked Biden what he would do to eliminate this threat. 

Biden answered firmly, “Any country, no matter who it is, that interferes with an American election will pay a price.” He then continued to say that he doesn’t understand why President Trump won’t talk to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. 

In response to Biden, President Trump stated that Biden received 3.5 million dollars from Russia. “I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people, maybe you can do it right now,” President Trump said. 

In response, Biden stated that he has never taken a penny from a foriegn country. 

The next topic was about families in America. Welker asked President Trump what he would do if the Affordable Care Act was overturned and potentially 20 million people lost their health insurance.

Trump stated that he would hope to terminate ObamaCare and “Come up with a brand new, beautiful health care.” He also added that he will always protect people with pre-existing conditions.

Biden was asked what he would do to build on ObamaCare. Biden said he would “Pass ObamaCare with a public option and become BidenCare.” He also wants to reduce premiums and drug prices. Biden adds that there is no way President Trump could protect pre-existing conditions. 

“Everyone should have the right to have affordable health care,” Biden said.

President Trump responded, “When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare.” 

Next, Welker asked Biden if this is the right time to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. 

Biden said that it is because the schools and businesses need help and President Trump is not giving it to them. 

President Trump responded and said that making businesses pay their employees a higher minimum wage is not going to help those businesses at all. He adds that he believes it should be a state choice. “How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages?” 

The next question was on the subject of immigration. Welker stated that President Trump’s administration has separated children from their parents at the border. She added that the United States still can not locate the parents of more than 500 children. She asks the President, “How will these families ever be reunited?”

President Trump stated that those children are coming to America illegally and not with their parents. He added that they are working “very hard” to reunite these families. He continues to go on and say that the kids are well taken care of and they are in very clean facilities. 

Welker then pointed the question to Biden and said that during his time as Vice President with former President Barack Obama, that they failed to deliver immigration reform when it was promised. She asked why voters should trust Biden. 

“We made a mistake,” Biden said. He added the he would send a pathway to citizenship to over 11 million undocumented people. 

The next topic that Welker brought up was about race in America. She asked Biden if he understands why African American parents fear for their children daily. 

He started off his answer by recognizing that white privilege exists and used the specific example of how he does not have to worry about warning his daughter that she might get shot if she doesn’t behave properly when being pulled over.

“There is institutional racism in America,” Biden said.

Biden then stated that nobody should have to go to jail for an alcohol or drug problem and that they should be put into rehabilitation. 

When asked the same question, President Trump said nobody has done more for the Black community than himself. “I am the least racist person in this room,” President Trump said. 

He continued to state that he got criminal justice reform done, prison reform done and also took care of Black colleges and universities. 

Climate change was the next topic of the evening. Welker asked the candidates, “how would you both combat climate change and support job growth at the same time?” 

President Trump answered first and talked about the Trillion Trees program and said that he wants the cleanest water and air. He also stated that our country has the lowest number in carbon admissions. 

The President then continued to say how filthy China, Russia and India are. 

Biden responded by saying that if Trump remains president for four more years, the country will be in real trouble. He also added that the top scientists in the world say that we will pass the point of return in the next eight years. 

Biden continued to say that he will update 2 million homes so they do not leak as much energy which would save millions of barrels of oil and create a significant number of jobs. 

The final topic of the debate was on the subject of leadership. Welker asked President Trump what he would say to Americans who did not vote for him.

“We have to make our country totally successful as it was prior to the plague coming from China,” President Trump said. He continues to say that we are rebuilding and performing record numbers. 

President Trump ended by saying, “If he [Biden] gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen and it will be a very sad day for this country.”

Biden responded to the same question by saying that he is going to represent everyone no matter which way they vote. “We’re going to choose hope over fear,” Biden says. 

He finished by saying that he wants everyone to have an even chance in America because they have not had it over the last four years. 

Election day is right around the corner on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. 

Photo: ABC News

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