Workers wear protective face shields during a broadcast of the final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at The Abbey, with socially distanced outdoor seating, on October 22, 2020
Workers wear protective face shields during a broadcast of the final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at The Abbey, with socially distanced outdoor seating, on October 22, 2020
AFP

Democratic nominee Joe Biden renewed his attacks on Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic at Thursday's final debate before the November 3 election with US President Donald Trump saying a vaccine would be announced soon.

Trump opened the debate defending his record against the pandemic, saying that his administration would announce a vaccine within weeks, adding that Americans are learning to live with COVID-19.

Trump also described India and its air as "filthy" during the last presidential debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden while discussing the environment and the Paris climate change agreeement.

The final debate was moderated by NBC's Kristen Welker.

Here are the key highlights of the second and last US Presidential Debate:

Climate

  • "Look at China. How filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India, it's filthy. The air is filthy," said Trump while speaking on carbon emissions as he countered Democratic rival Joe Biden.

  • "We have the trillion trees programme. We have some many different programmes. I do love the environment and what I do want is crystal clear air and water. We have the lowest carbon emissions which is a big standard which Barack Obama (former president)." Trump further claimed that under his administration the US has had the lowest emission numbers in the last 35 years.

  • "We have the best carbon emission numbers that we have had in the last 35 years. I took out the Paris accord because we spent trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly, " he said without mentioning the word 'climate change' during his reply to the moderator.

  • Biden responded saying that "Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and we have a moral obligation towards it. We are being told by leading scientist we have no time and we will reach a time no return in 8-10 years." "Four more years of this man (pointing to Trump), all those regulations will be eliminated that were put in to clean up the climate and to limit the emissions," Biden said.

Racism

  • Biden termed Trump "one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history", asserting that his Republican rival at his last debate did not condemn white supremacy and told an extremist group to "stand down and stand by." Trump "pours fuel on every racist fire," he added.

  • The US president portrayed himself as a champion of Black people and reiterated that no president has done more for Black Americans than anyone other than former US President Abraham Lincoln. Trump accused Biden and former President Barack Obama of ignoring issues of racial justice.

  • "You've done nothing but the crime bill which put tens of thousands of Black men in jail," Trump told Biden.

  • "I am the least racist person in this room," Trump said, touting criminal justice reform and opportunity zone bills that he signed.

  • Trump attacked Biden, over his support for a 1994 crime bill, saying the legislation "did such harm to the Black community." Biden has called the law a mistake in the past, and he repeated that during the debate.

  • "The fact of the matter is, there is institutional racism in America," Biden said.

  • Trump said that Biden had four years as vice president to combat racism but failed to do so.

  • "You're all talk and no action, Joe," he said.

  • Biden accused Trump of race baiting, saying that the president "has a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn." Biden said during the presidential debate that he understood why people of colour fear that their children could be targeted by police because of the colour of their skin.

  • "I never had to tell my daughter if she's pulled over make sure she puts, for a traffic stop, put both hands on top of the wheel and don't reach for the glove box because someone might shoot you," he said.

  • "But a Black parent, no matter how wealthy or poor they are, has to teach their child when you're walking down the street don't have a hoodie on when you go across the street, making sure you in fact if you get pulled over, yes, sir, no, sir, hands on top of the wheel, because you are in fact the victim whether you're a person making USD 300,000 a year person or someone who's on food stamps. The fact of the matter is there is institutional racism in America," Biden said.

COVID-19

  • Trump said that a COVID-19 vaccine is "ready" and going to be announced "within weeks" to combat the deadly disease that has killed over 223,000 Americans.

  • "This has been a worldwide problem, but I've been congratulated by many countries on what we've been able to do," he said at the debate held in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • "We have a vaccine that's coming, it's ready. It's going to be announced within weeks and it's going to be delivered," the President said.

  • Trump claimed that he had done a good job with a worldwide pandemic, saying the country needs to "learn to live with it." Responding to the President, Biden said that Trump has no plan.

  • "He always says people are learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it," Biden said.

  • "I will take care of this. I will make sure we have a plan," the former vice president said.

  • Biden said that this is a dark winter as he came down heavily on the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic.

  • Trump praised the US response to the pandemic, claiming that the crisis "is going away".

  • On the question of lockdown, Trump said: "We don't have the ability to lock ourselves in basement".

  • "We're not going to shut down and we have to open our schools," Trump said. "The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself," Trump said.

  • According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the coronavirus has so far infected more than 41 million people and killed over 1.1 million people globally. The US is the worst affected country with over 8 million cases and 223,000 deaths.

(With agencies)

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