John T. Bennett
INDEPENDENT . Fri, October 23, 2020, 4:39 AM GMT+2
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden landed several blows on Donald Trump in their final debate, saying the coronavirus death toll should disqualify the president from serving a second term as the two traded sharp barbs about each other’s records in office and alleged profits from foreign sources.
The two presidential candidates jousted for 90 minutes in a more civil debate than their first, but Thursday night’s one-on-one battle did feature some fireworks. The president accused Mr Biden of improperly taking funds from other countries while he was vice president, and Mr Biden described his rival as a “very confused guy” who falsely claims a Biden agenda would resemble the more-liberal Democrats he defeated in that party’s primary.
But it was on the coronavirus pandemic that Mr Biden landed some early blows on the GOP president who has admitted to publicly downplaying the disease to avoid inciting a panic.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States,” the former vice president said.
Mr Biden had just stated the US death toll, over 222,000, before launching into an attack on the president over his coronavirus response.
“He says we are learning to live with,” Mr Biden said, “we are learning to die with it.”
Moments later, Mr Biden claimed the president takes no responsibility for the repeated spread of the virus on US soil. That prompted Mr Trump to, in a rare move, do just that – almost.
“I take full responsibility,” the president said before adding: “It’s not my fault it came here. … It’s not Joe’s fault it came here.” He blamed China, where US oof other officials say the virus first went public and began to spread.
After the president said “we’re learning to live with it,” the former VP later said the sitting president is telling his countrymen and countrymen some of them may die, but their leader is shrugging off each death.
For his part, Mr Trump also landed an early jab. He indirectly alluded to his camp’s allegations that Mr Biden profited off his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings while he was the No. 2 American official.
The president said Mr Biden, unlike other Americans, has the resources to “ock himself up” in his large Delaware house.
“He’s obviously made a lot of money someplace,” Mr Trump said, eager to plant seed of doubt in voters’ minds.
Meantime, the two next squared off over whether either has made money from overseas sources.
The president tried pinning alleged payments from Russians on the former VP; Mr Biden suggested Mr Trump owes money to unknown entities in a number of countries.
“What are you hiding?” Mr Biden said, pointing his right index finger at the president. “What’s going on here?”
Mr Trump replied: “I don’t make money from China, you do. I don’t make money from Ukraine, you do.”
His Democratic foe shook his head and looked across the stage wide-eyed. He did the same when Mr Trump uttered this line: “I have bank accounts all over the place. They’re all listed.” (Fact check: They are not.)
What once was slated to be a foreign policy debate veered there briefly when moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News asked both about how they would disarm North Korea.
Mr Trump talked about his meetings and relationship with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and called the young dictator “a different kind of guy.”
The former vice president compared Mr Kim to Adolf Hitler: “It’s like saying we had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded Europe.”
The president had more than a few stumbles, including when he said migrant children who are separated from their families are “so well taken care of.”
Mr Biden replied: “We have 525 [migrant] children who don’t know where their parents are.