Final 2020 presidential debate

By Meg Wagner, Kyle Blaine, Jessica Estepa, Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:27 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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10:50 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Fact check: Trump falsely says Biden has "houses all over the place"

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

President Trump, who has long touted his own prosperity as a selling point, attacked Biden’s lifestyle, saying, “You have houses all over the place.” 

Facts first: This is false.  

While Biden has reported earning millions since leaving office, the former vice president doesn’t have houses “all over the place.” He owns two properties in Delaware. 

Biden’s main home in Greenville, a suburb of Wilmington, was constructed on land he bought in 1996 for $350,000.  

Biden bought a vacation home, also in Delaware, for $2.7 million in 2017 — after he finished his tenure as vice president and signed a lucrative book deal. 

10:45 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Fact check: Trump falsely says a Covid-19 vaccine is ready

From CNN's Sierra Jenkins and Elizabeth Cohen

President Trump claimed a vaccine for Covid-19 is ready. 

“We have a vaccine that’s coming, it’s ready,” said Trump.

Facts First: It’s false to say that a vaccine is currently ready. The FDA has not approved a vaccine for emergency use authorization.

There are currently four US clinical vaccine trials in Phase 3 with Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. 

Two clinical trials are paused with no indication when they will resume. AstraZeneca paused more than a month ago on Sept. 8 when a participant developed an unexplained illness. Johnson & Johnson paused on Oct. 12 for the same reason. 

Pfizer and Moderna have both said they could apply for Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks, but only if they have positive results from their Phase 3 clinical trials. Neither company says they know whether the results will be positive. Pfizer has said they could apply for emergency use authorization after the third week in November. Moderna has said they could apply in early December.

10:49 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Trump says he's "the least racist person" in the debate hall

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville.
President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump said during Thursday’s debate that he understands why parents of color fear that their children may be unfairly targeted by the police — but he didn't expand on what he plans to do to solve that problem.

Both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were asked about "the talk" many parents of color have with their children about how to respond if they encounter police. The candidates were asked whether they understand why these parents fear that their children will be targeted for the color of their skin.

“Yes, I do,” Trump responded. “And again, (Biden’s) been in government for 47 years. He never did a thing.”

Trump continued to criticize Biden’s involvement in the 1994 crime bill before moving on to listing what he perceived as his accomplishments for the Black community.

“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln … nobody has done what I’ve done,” Trump said, specifically citing criminal justice reform efforts, funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the establishment of Opportunity Zones.

The President later said he thinks he has “great relationships with all people.”

“I am the least racist person in this room,” Trump continued.  

The President said he didn’t know what to say to Americans who are concerned with his rhetoric being racist.

“I don’t know what to say … It makes me sad,” Trump said. 

Watch the moment:

2:28 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

A question about "the talk" turns into Trump and Biden sparring over who is racist

From CNN's Kevin Liptak:

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville. Patrick Semansky/AP

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were both asked a provocative and important question about race: Could they understand why Black parents give their children the “talk” about how to handle encounters with law enforcement?

Trump’s instinct was to insist —again — that he’s done more for African-Americans than any previous president since Abraham Lincoln — and to attack Biden for his record, including on a crime bill from the 1990s.

He didn’t specifically address the question.

But when pressed about his previous reluctance to condemn white supremacy by moderator Kristen Welker, who is herself Black, Trump made a bold claim.

"I’m the least racist person in this room,” Trump said.

Biden, meanwhile, sought to cast Trump as stoking racial divisions, one of the driving arguments of his entire campaign.

"Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history,” he said, making reference to Trump’s previous claim. “This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn.”

The candidates’ responses were designed less to convince Black voters that either man would be better for them than to convince White voters that Trump is or is not racist. It’s one of the factors that has driven down Trump’s poll numbers among suburban women, who have been turned off by Trump’s constant stoking of divisions.

How Trump simply stating that he is not racist reverses that impression — given the ample evidence of him stoking racist conspiracies or fomenting racial divisions — isn’t clear.

2:27 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

Trump: "Joe, I ran because of you"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President Donald Trump answers a question as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden listens during the second and final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville.
President Donald Trump answers a question as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden listens during the second and final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville. Morry Gash/Pool/AP

President Trump slammed former Vice President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama for doing a "poor job" during their two terms in the White House.

"Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama. Because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run," Trump said.

As Biden talked about his policy plan on race and criminal justice reform, Trump accused the former vice president of doing "nothing" during his tenure in the White House.

"Why didn't you do that four years ago, even less than that? You were the vice president. You keep talking about all these things you're going to do. But you were there just a short time ago and you guys did nothing," Trump added.

Watch the moment:

10:40 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

Biden says he understands why people of color fear their children could be targeted by police 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday during the presidential debate that he understands why people of color fear that their children could be targeted by police because of the color of their skin.

The moderator, NBC’s Kristen Welker, described "the talk" that many Black and brown parents in America have with their children.

“It happens regardless of class and income — parents who feel they have no choice but to prepare their children for the chance that they could be targeted, including by the police, for no reason other than the color of their skin,” Welker said.  

“Mr. Vice President, in the next two minutes, I want you to speak directly to these families,” Welker continued. “Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?

“I do,” Biden responded, adding that his daughter is a social worker who has written about this topic. 

“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,” Biden said. 

He continued, “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 $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. 

Here's the moment:

2:26 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

How Trump and Biden compare on the climate crisis

From CNN's Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

People watch from their vehicles as President Donald Trump, on left of video screen, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speak during a Presidential Debate Watch Party at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, on Thursday.
People watch from their vehicles as President Donald Trump, on left of video screen, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speak during a Presidential Debate Watch Party at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, on Thursday. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The candidates are being asked about the climate crisis and their campaign proposals on the topic.

Here's a look at how they compare on this policy issue:

  • Joe Biden in July 2020 proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035. In a speech detailing the plan, Biden called the threat posed by climate change a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy." The plan marks a clear shift by Biden toward progressives' goals of urgently reducing fossil fuel consumption to combat climate change. Biden's new proposal is more ambitious than the 10-year, $1.7 trillion plan he'd offered during the Democratic primary, which included the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. His proposed 100% clean electricity standard by 2035 is modeled after a proposal initially offered by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and later embraced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The same aim was included in a series of recommendations recently negotiated by a task force made up of members appointed by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and co-chaired by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a chief proponent of the Green New Deal.
  • President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord — a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets — was a major blow to the global response to the climate crisis. The decision sent a message to the rest of the world that the US — which can legally leave the agreement as early as 2020 — would not be leading the global fight against climate change. Trump's EPA chief has said that while he believes in climate change, it is not a top priority. The administration shrunk two of Utah's national monuments. It has also pushed to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, as well as waters along the East and Pacific coasts. Under the Trump administration, the EPA announced it would no longer require oil and gas companies to install monitors to detect methane leaks from new wells, tanks and pipelines.
2:24 a.m. ET, October 23, 2020

In rare distancing, Biden describes how he would handle immigration differently to Obama

From CNN's Dan Merica

Joe Biden distanced himself from immigration policy during Barack Obama’s presidency on Thursday night, responding to a question about record deportation and a failure to pass immigration reform by saying he would do things differently.

Asked directly why voters should trust him with immigration after eight years under Obama, Biden answered bluntly: “Because we made a mistake. It took too long to get it right. I’ll be President of the United States, not Vice President of the United States.”

Obama’s immigration policies were criticized during his two terms in office, leading some immigration advocates to express concerns about how a Biden administration would handle the issue. And Biden’s poll numbers with Latino voters have been lower than past Democratic nominees.

Biden has tried to defend his former administration’s handling of immigration — even though the policy earned Obama the mocking moniker “deporter in chief” — making Thursday comments at the debate notable.

“And the fact is, I’ve made it very clear within 100 days I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people. And all of those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship,” Biden said. “The idea that they are being sent home by this guy and they want to do that is they’ve gone to a country they’ve never seen before.”

This is how the question played out:

10:27 p.m. ET, October 22, 2020

How Trump and Biden compare on police reform

From CNN's Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday in Nashville. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP

President Trump was just asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, which has rallied for police reform across the US.

Here's a look at how the two candidates compare on the issue of police reform:

  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he does not support calls to "defund the police," which picked up steam after the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, as well as others. But he does support some of the principles the phrase's advocates champion. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates has said that Biden supports "the urgent need for reform -- including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing." Biden's campaign has said he backs proposals to increase spending on social programs separate from local police budgets, but he also wants more funding for police reforms such as body cameras and training on community policing approaches. Biden has called for an additional $300 million in funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, which would allow more officers to be hired and would pay for training on community policing approaches.
  • President Trump has declared himself "your president of law and order" amid nationwide protests over systemic racism and police brutality in America. He has lambasted efforts to defund police departments and has said police were owed respect for their work. In June, he signed an order to enact modest reforms in a move to confront the outcry over police brutality, including a tracking program that will encourage localities to submit information on officers who have been fired or found in court to have used excessive force. The Justice Department will also direct federal grants toward police departments that are credentialed for having use of force and de-escalation policies and banning the use of chokeholds, except when lethal force is authorized. Working with federal health officials, the department will increase training on programs that pair social workers with police to answer mental health and homelessness calls. The Justice Department's political leadership under the Trump administration has endorsed a policing policy that prioritized stamping out a national uptick in violent crime and boosting the morale of street cops, who the Trump administration claimed had been antagonized under the Obama era.