Donald Trump and Joe Biden clashed Thursday night in Nashville in a somewhat respectful debate that is unlikely to change the dynamics dramatically with less than two weeks before the poll. Their discussion more than ever gave a glimpse of two facets of the United States, in particular on the management of the Covid-19 crisis.
“If the tone of Thursday's debate was calmer” than when the two candidates first met, “their substantive disagreements and their two visions could not have been more divergent,” the New York Times summarized. For the American daily, the hour-and-a-half-hour discussion on Thursday evening between the two presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump revealed "two diametrically opposed visions of America".
It is especially “when the issue of Covid-19, which devastated the country and sank the economy, was addressed” that “the differences between the two candidates appeared most clearly: one said black, the other white was night and day, the fairy tale against the autopsy report, ”notes the Los Angeles Times.
Learning “to live” or “to die” with the Covid
Lagging behind in the polls, the US president accused his rival of wanting to “reconfigure” the country because of the Covid-19, to the detriment of the economy. We must “learn to live with” the coronavirus, launched Donald Trump, fatalist. With him, “people especially learn to die”, retorted his Democratic opponent, predicting the Americans “a dark winter” for the most bereaved country in the world, with more than 222,000 deaths from the coronavirus. By "sharpening" his argument on Covid-19, Joe Biden unleashed "one of his most scathing comments against Trump's record on Covid," the Washington Post said.
“People keep dying. And Trump continues to lie, ”said Mother Jones magazine.
After the coronavirus theme, talks between Trump and Biden swung into mutual accusations of inadequate ties with foreign countries. In particular, the Republican president reiterated his accusations that the former vice president and his son Hunter engaged in unfair practices in China and Ukraine. No evidence could be produced to support these accusations, which Joe Biden denies.
Trump's performance "not good enough to change the course of the campaign"
The former Obama vice-president also took a risk by assuring that if elected he "will gradually turn away from the oil industry." "That's a hell of a statement," the Republican scoffed. “You will remember that, Texas? Ohio? Pennsylvania?” Donald Trump said to voters in these key states, where Joe Biden appears to be able to challenge the Republican billionaire for victory.
“During this final debate, Trump was able to keep Biden on the defensive. He lied a lot, of course, ”but he also“ raised a lot of questions about Biden, who failed to refute his accusations vigorously enough, ”the Boston Globe notes. “As good as his performance was, it probably wasn't good enough to change the course of the campaign. Does that mean he might not lose Republican states like Texas? Certainly. Does that mean he's now on track to win the Electoral College's 270 votes? No ”, concludes the East Coast daily.