Fewer fireworks, more substance: 5 takeaways from the final Biden-Trump debate

By Alex Roarty and David Catanese, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

Biden highlighted Trump's repeated claims over the past seven months that the virus was receding and offered a somber prediction. "We're about to go into a dark winter," Biden declared.

His most stinging indictment of Trump was that his handling of the pandemic disqualified him from a second term.

"Anyone responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America," Biden said, while also offering assurance that Americans would eventually return to normalcy. "I'm going to shut down the virus, not the country."


For days, the Trump campaign had telegraphed one of its major goals in the final debate: Make Biden's son, Hunter, a liability and symbol of their opponent's alleged corruption.

Surprisingly, Hunter's name was never uttered by Trump, who deployed the attack against "your son," but did not land the blow he was hoping for.


The muddled back-and-forth over Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings and profits in China and Ukraine came after nearly a half-hour clash on the coronavirus, an issue that by contrast resonates with almost every American.

Biden denied he had done anything unethical in relation to his son's work and turned the tables on Trump, needling him over his Chinese bank account.

But Biden returned to a familiar message.

"There's a reason why he's bringing up all this malarkey," Biden said. "He doesn't want to talk about the substantive issues. It's not about his family and my family. It's about your family, and your family is hurting badly."


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