Live blogging the final debate

Postscript: I was never meant to be a live blogger. I did here exactly what I used to do in college and law school: I write everything down so that I can sort it out later. I’m not one of those who can sort wheat from chaff in real time. I’d certainly be interested in your takes, though.

I’m live-blogging the debate so, if you’re interested, please keep checking back as I continuously update this post with my thoughts. This is an experiment, of course, so we’ll see how it goes.

9:05: I’m already irked because of Kristen Welker’s referring to Jill Biden as “Doctor” In America, “Doctor” means a medical doctor. “Professor” means someone who holds a PhD. Jill Biden has an education doctorate (“EdD”) which has no honorary title. In the same way, even though every law school graduated in America has a JD (“Juris Doctor”), we’re not called “Doctor” either. Jill Biden is a poseur.

First topic is the coronavirus. Welker instantly talks about how more people are catching the Wuhan virus. A terrible next stage, she says.

Trump talks about the fact that 2.2 million people were supposed to die. It’s a worldwide pandemic spiking all over. Mortality rate is down 85%. Excess mortality rate down and lower than almost any other country. Spikes in Florida, Texas, and Arizona all gone. These spikes will be gone. Vaccine on the way, to be announced within weeks. Operation Warp speed will see the military distribute it. Trump talks about benefiting hugely from the therapeutic, and is immune at least for know. Emphasized that it’s a worldwide problem. Other nations have congratulated him for the supplies that America was able to create immediately.

Biden simply blames Trump for the 200,000 dead. Says that Trump cannot remain president. There are a thousand deaths a day. Over 70,000 new cases a day. Says Europe’s doing better because they’re starting from a low rate, so spikes aren’t a big deal. Masks. Biden has a plan: Masks. Testing (as if we’re not doing it already). National standards (as if there aren’t standards already, state by state). Cites to NEJM (which is published by leftist hacks). Biden says he’ll make sure we have a plan.

On a follow-up Trump says he can’t guarantee a vaccine in weeks, but he says that he believes it will be coming soon because so many companies are working on it. Welker says that Trump’s own advisors disagree with him. Trump says he disagrees with him. Military waiting.

What would Biden do to give Americans a vaccine they trust: Make sure it’s transparent. Keeps calling Trump “this is the same fellow.” People will die. Dark winter. People will die.

Trump disagrees: We acted quickly and things will get better. Shows that Biden objected to all of Trump’s original steps to protect Americans. Trump raises how badly Biden handled H1N1 — less lethal but total disaster. If Biden had been in charge of the Wuhan virus, 700,000 people would have been dead now.

Biden: Trump is xenophobic and he closed to China after 40 other countries. Biden implies that Trump copied Biden on using the defense act. And then suddenly he jumps to Trump getting out of the hospital. “Come on!”

Trump: We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement. I don’t know how he does it. He obviously made a lot of money someplace but we can’t all do that…. (Rough quotation.) Other people are learning to live with it. Again praises hospital. 99.9% of young people recover. 99% of all people recover. You can’t close up our nation or you don’t have a nation. (Welker makes sure to say young people can get sick and are contagious.)

Biden: People aren’t learning to live with it. They’re learning to die from it. Another “come on.” Negativity and anger.

Trump: I take responsibility. But it’s China’s fault.

Biden: President said “don’t worry.” “It’s going to go away.” Brings up the “inject bleach.”

Trump: When I closed, Biden and Pelosi said I shouldn’t have closed. Biden calls Trump xenophobic and racist. Joe it doesn’t work.

Biden: Joe lies about saying he talked about xenophobia in a different context.

Belker asks Biden about risks of shutdown: Biden will shut down virus not country. Everything else is Trump’s fault. Trump should have been negotiating with all the acts people were passing. (No idea what he means.) Biden says you need standards: If the reproduction rate is above a certain level, shut it down. He’s just blathering. He’s saying lock it down, then open it up — and hand over lots of money.

Trump: All he does is talk about shutdowns. Forget about him. His Democrat governors (names all the states) “they’re shut down so tight and they’re dying.” And he supports these people. Mentions the speed with which Barron recovered. Need to get people back to school.

Belker: You’ve demanded schools open in person. Boston went entirely on line after a coronavirus spike.

Trump: I want to open schools. Transmittal rate to teachers is small. We have to open the country. You cannot keep a country closed. Suicide, job loss, alcohol, drugs, abuse. The cure cannot be worse than the problem — and he wants to close the country down if one person says so.

Biden: Denies. Ought to be able to safely open but need to resources: Social distancing (we have), plexiglass dividers in restaurant (that’s impossible), rapid testing (we have). Not inconsistent with safe opening. Come on.

Trump: New York is dying. Restaurants are dying. Everyone’s living. Nothing that Biden suggests with work.

Biden: I don’t do red state or blue state. They’re all American. But the red states are the ones that are having spikes. (Huh?)

Trump: New York has lost more than 40,000 people. Pennsylvania has had it closed. Spiked. Michigan like a prison. North Carolina having spikes. Joe, you can’t let the country financially collapse. Protect the vulnerable. We have the best testing.

Belker: Trump’s nasty words about medical experts, including Fauci.

Trump: I get along with Fauci, but he did say “don’t wear masks;” he said “it’s not going to be a problem.” When Trump was saying it’s not that bad, he was listening to experts. Fauci goes back and forth. “He’s allowed to make mistakes.”

Biden: Think about what the president knew in January and didn’t tell the American people. Spread in the air and much worse than the flu. Says that Trump didn’t want Americans to panic. “Americans don’t panic. He panicked.” Oh, yes they do panic. It’s called Karen. And Trump’s advisors made money on Wall Street.

Trump: You’re the one who takes all the money from Wall Street. Deals are made. Trump reiterates point that he won’t take money from Wall Street because it makes him beholden. Biden shouldn’t be bringing up money from Wall Street.

National Security

Welker: Russia and Iran threat.

Biden: I made it clear that any country that interferes in U.S. elections will pay price. It’s been overwhelmingly clear in this election that Russia involved, a little bit of China, and Iran. they’ll pay a price for interfering with American sovereignty.  Trump hasn’t said a word to Putin and I don’t think he’s said anything to Iranians. His own National Security advisor told him Rudy Giuliani, his buddy, is being used as a Russian pawn. It’s not true. Russia is wanting to make sure Biden doesn’t get elected.

Biden just won the Chutzpah award.

Again raised that the Russia bounty hoax. What a dishonest, ugly weasel.

Welker: What will you do in next term?

Trump: Joe’s family got $3.5 million in Russia from Putin via the mayor’s wife. I don’t get money from Russia.

Regarding Iran/Russia: They both want Trump to lose. There’s been nobody tougher than Trump on Russia. Trump got NATO countries to put up extra $130 billion. While Trump selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank busters to Ukraine. There’s been nobody tougher on Russia than I. Raises how Russia took over Ukraine while Obama and Biden were in office — but Biden was getting a lot of money. With what came out today, “the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family. You were Vice President…. You owe an explanation to the American people….”

Regardless of me, you have to clean it up and talk to the American people.

Biden: I have not taken a penny from any former source every in my life. Raises “secret” bank account in China and paid taxes there. Denies ever taking money. Says he’s released 22 years of his tax returns. Trump won’t. What are you hiding. Accuses Russia and China of paying him. Then he mentions that it has to do with Trump’s business.

Trump: $750 : What did I pay? “You prepaid tens of millions of dollars. I prepaid. It was done as an estimate. It wasn’t written. $750 is a filing fee. I prepaid millions and millions of dollars in taxes. I don’t make money from China. You do. I don’t make money from Ukraine. You do. I don’t make money from Russia. You do.” Says that Biden the “Big Man” who has to get 10%.

Welker: When can you release taxes?

Trump: As soon as the audit is over. IRS treats me horribly.

Biden: He’s been saying this for four years. Show us; just show us. You’re either not paying your taxes or your taxes are so low. “Come on.”

Trump: I was put through a phony witch. (His shtick about the Russia hoax.) Mueller spent $48 million and found nothing wrong with my taxes. I bet I could spent $1 million on you, Joe, and find plenty wrong.

Foreign entanglements.

Welker: Asking about China and Ukraine. Was it inappropriate or unethical?

Biden: Says that every person during the impeachment said that Biden carried out his job impeccably. The guy who got in trouble was Trump who tried to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about Biden. Nobody made money in China. Not my son.

Trump: Hunter didn’t have a job. The moment Biden become Veep, Hunter suddenly got $183,000 from Burisma.

Biden: No basis.

Welker: Trump, you haven’t divested from your business and promoted your property abroad. What about the China account?

Trump: I have many bank account. They’re all listed. The China bank account is from 2013 and was closed in 2015. Closed it before he even ran for president. He is Veep and his son and brother. They’re like vacuum cleaners.

Welker: Asks Biden about China.

Biden: Biden says China needs to play by international rules. Trump made deficit go up. Biden pretends the Obama administration never happened. Biden claims he stood up to Xi regarding military islands in South China Sea. Biden says that Trump embraced thugs like North Korea. Biden wants us to align with the rest of the world.

Trump: His son walked out with $1.5 billion from China. There’s a very strong email talking about your family wanting to make $10 mil from introductions.

Welker desperately cuts him off.

Trump: China paying billions and billions. Talks about farmers and steel benefiting. Biden says “taxpayers” paid to farmers. Trump: the taxpayer is “Chy-na.”

Biden: Tries to switch conversation to fact that Americans are economically suffering. And of course brings up Scranton.

Trump: Describes Biden’s wayof avoiding the subject.

Welker: North Korea: asks if Kim Jong-un betraying him.

Trump: Spoke with Obama at White House who said biggest problem is Norks. It would be a nuclear war. Meantime, I have a different kind of relationship, and there’s no war. About two months ago, people thought war was coming and Trump said no. 32 million people in Seoul at risk.

Welker: Biden — how would you do better with Norks.

Biden: I’d make it clear that China has to be part of China. Claims he stood up to China about Norks and all Trump did was legitimize Norks, when Kim Jong-un a thug.

Welker: Under what condition would he meet with Kim?

Biden: Only if he already agrees to drawing down.

Trump: Failed under Obama. We’re not in a war, we’re in a good relationship.

Biden: Says that Trump having a good relationship with Kim is like having a good relationship with Hitler.

Trump: They left me a mess. Nork was a mess. My first three months were very dangerous until we worked out.

Health care:

Welker: What happens to people insured under Obamacare if Supreme Court does away with it?

Trump: The best thing he already did was getting rid of the individual mandate. It’s gone. Now it’s in court. Trump says, as long as it’s the law, run it as well as you can. But no matter how well you run it, it’s no good. We want to terminate it, and do something even better. Pre-existing conditions will always stay. I want to do a brand new, beautiful healthcare.

Trump thinks he’s going to win the house, but even if Dems win, he thinks they’ll work with him because they’re desperate. Biden will destroy 180 million people’s private healthcare plans that they like. Biden wants to do socialized medicine, that will terminate 180 million plans.

Welker: What is your plan if the Supremes overrule the law.

Biden: Biden care will be Obamacare with a public option. If you qualify for Medicaid, you automatically are enrolled in (something). We’re going to reduce premiums and drug prices by making sure there’s competition.

Biden says he doesn’t want to eliminate private insurance. “I support private insurance.” Biden claims that no one lost their insurance under Obamacare. It was a choice when they lost their coverage because they got priced out or the policy ending.

Welker: What about people’s fear we’ll move closer to socialized medicine?

Biden: Biden thinks healthcare is a right. That doesn’t mean it’s socialized medicine that the government will pay for everyone who can’t afford insurance. People “rolling around in bed tonight” are worried.

Trump: He was there for 47 years and didn’t do it. He was in the White House for eight years, less than four years ago, and didn’t do it. Harris more liberal than Bernie Sanders and wants socialized medicine even more. Biden is lying now the way he lied about fracking.

[Trump takes a second to praise her.]

Biden: People deserve to have affordable health care government subsidies will lower premiums. When have government subsidies ever lowered prices? They’re inflation within an industry.

Trump: When he says public option, he’s talking about socialized medicine: destroying medicine and social security. Sanders tried it in his state and it failed.

Biden: Biden gets a good line about Trump thinking he’s running against other people. Biden pretends that the temporary withholding from Social Security is permanent. That’s a lie.

Trump: He tries to hurt Social Security years ago. Stock market will crash under Biden.

Welker keeps cutting off Trump’s responses and then letting Biden talk back. Trump gets 10 second rebuttals; Biden gets long rebuttals. It’s very obvious.


Welker: Unemployment, women, people of color hardest hit. No relief bill.

Trump: Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it. — Welker: But you’re the president — True, but I need to work with her. Pelosi is delaying so that Trump doesn’t have a victory near the election.

Biden: Claims that Republican leader said nothing would pass anyway.

Welker: Why haven’t you, Biden, pushed the Democrats?

Biden: I have talked with them. They passed at the beginning of the summer. Ignores that it was pure boondoggle for leftists.

Trump: Bill passed in the House was billions of dollars for badly run, failing, Democrat cities and states. Also was a way to pour money into illegal aliens. Everyone in the world will start pouring into America. This was spending on things that have nothing to do with Wuhan virus.

Biden: Again says that he sees one America, not red or blue. But red staters understand that he says this only because he wants them to pay for bad blue state policies.

Minimum wage:

Welker: Is this the right time to raise minimum wage.

Biden: Yes. We’ll be bailing small businesses out. [So he wants to pour money to small businesses who can then pay wages. Except this kind of government handout is always an invitation to fraud. It’s just a sneaky way for socializing business.]

Trump: It should be a state option. Every state is different.We have to help our small businesses. How do you help them by forcing high wages? Small businesses fire employees.

Welker: You said you’d consider it.

Trump: I will consider it; but it should be a state option. Some places $15 isn’t so bad. In other states, $15 is nothing.

Biden: Talks about people working a job and being in poverty. There is no evidence that when you raise minimum wages, businesses go under. [I guess he never noticed what happened in Seattle.]


Welker: Children who can’t find parents.

Trump: Children brought here by coyotes and cartels, not by their families. Obama/Biden built cages for children. We’re working to reunite kids. But a lot of kids came here without parents.

Biden: These 500 plus kids came with parents Biden claims. They separated them at the border as a disincentive.

Trump: They did it we changed the policy. Who built the cages, Joe?

Biden: Parents the kids were ripped from their arms. Biden gets very heated about this one.

Trump: Children in good facilities. Who built the cages? [Welker refuses.]

Welker: Obama didn’t do immigration reform and engaged in mass deportation. Why should we trustyou.

Biden: Blames Obama. I’ll get it right. I’m going to give citizenship to every illegal in America. Going to reinstate DACA. Claims 20,000 are first responders.

Trump: Biden had eight years. I’ve changed things: Got rid of catch and release (horrible things they put in). He did nothing during his 8 years except build cages to put children in.

Biden: Catch and release meant families given a hearing date and claims that they showed up. Says it’s a first that Trump makes people seek asylum in another country. [Many of us think that’s a good idea.]

Trump: He has no understanding. Catch and release is a disaster. Criminals would come in, we’d take their name, and release them into our country. Less than 1% of the people showed up for their hearings. They don’t come back, Joe. They never come back. Only the really with the lowest IQ might come back. You don’t know the law, Joe.


Welker sets up with “the talk” for black and brown kids. Wants Biden to speak to those families. Why do these parents fear for their children?

Biden: I understand. My daughter is a social worker. I worked on the East side of Wilmington, 90% black, so I could understand what was going on. Talks about putting hands on the steering wheel. [You know what? I do too. It’s smart for everyone. I’m polite to police officers. It’s because cops are scared and I have to respect that.] Biden claims that blacks are victims of institutional racism in America. We have never lived up to our principles in the Declaration of Independence. Biden has plans [but he never put them in place over 47 years].

Trump: I understand. It’s what Biden did in 1994 with his crime bill for “super predators.” Except for Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done. I did criminal justice reform. Obama and Biden didn’t even try. It was hard and Trump did it. Prison reform. Opportunity zones with Tim Scott. He had an incredible idea and it’s one of the most successful programs. Biggest beneficiaries are black and Hispanic universities. Money for HBCUs. Obama never gave them long-term funding. Gave them more money than they asked for. Was sorry that he might never see the HBCU representatives again because he liked them.

Biden: Biden never referred to super predators. Says that Trump said that the problem with the 1994 crime bill is that there aren’t enough people in jail. Also talked about marauding gangs. Also wanted harsh sentences for Central Park Five. Biden claims the Obama initiated criminal justice reform. Biden wants to get rid of minimum mandatories (which I believe were his idea).

Trump: Why didn’t you do all this? I ran because of you. You did a poor job. If you’d done a good job, I wouldn’t have run.

Biden: Biden plays the character card. I don’t think that’s a comparison Biden wants to make.

Trump: If this stuff is true about Russia, China, Ukraine, Iraq, if this is true, he’s a corrupt politician. “Laptop from hell.”

Biden: Cites to 50 former national intelligence folks — none of whom have seen the hard drive or any of the documents. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend, Rudy J-ooolllannni. [Biden’s getting tired.]

Welker: Says Trump says racist things, and then asks him to rebut. [Never asks Biden about all his racist statements.]

Trump: First heard about BLM changing “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.” That was my first glimpse of BLM. I have great relations with all people. I am the least racist people in this room. I did all sorts of pro-black initiatives. I am the least racist person in this room. I don’t care who’s in the audience.

Biden: Trump is most racist president in market history. Pours fuel on every single racist fire. Said he’s going to get rid of Mexican rapists. Banned Muslims because they’re Muslims. Told “Poor Boys” to stand down and stand ready. Ugly things.

Trump: You have done nothing for the black community except for the crime bill, which put tens of thousands of black men in jail.

Welker: Crime bills that Biden supported imprisoning black men with low drug possession.

Biden: The 1980s crime bill was a mistake. I’ve tried to change it since then, particularly about cocaine. Now doesn’t want to send anyone to jail for pure drug and alcohol offense. Only treatment.

Trump: Why didn’t you get it done. You’re all talk and no action. You got nothing done.

Biden: Again says all the things he’ll do.

Trump: I’ll ask again. Why didn’t you get it done. You had eight years. You know what, Joe? Because you’re all talk and no action.

Biden: Because we had a Republican congress.

Climate change

Welker: How would you combat climate change and support job growth.

Trump: We have the trillion trees program, what I want is the cleanest air and water. We have the best, lowest number in carbon emissions (Obama’s favorite term) in 35 years. We are working so well with industry. But what we can’t do: Look at how filthy China, Russia, and India are. The Paris Accord — we would have had to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly. I will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies, because of the Paris Accord. It was so unfair. China doesn’t kick in until 2030.

We’ve cleaned everything without destroying industries.

Biden: Existential threat to humanity. Moral obligation. Not much time. 8-10 years. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Pfui. He’s just channeling AOC. Stupid.

Promises trillions of dollars on new Solyndras. Anyone who falls for this is a moron — which means a Democrat, I guess.

Trump: $6,500 will be taken away from families under Biden’s plan. It’s an economic disaster developed but AOC plus three. She knows nothing about the climate. They’re all hopping through hoops for AOC. Their real plan costs $100 trillion. They want to take buildings down to make bigger windows into smaller windows. They’d like no windows. No smart people involved.

Biden: My plan endorsed by every major environmental group and labor. Environmental groups are insane. Labor is looking to cash in on government boondoggle. Biden says the big money is on renewables. (Apparently he hasn’t looked at California.)

Trump: We are energy independent. Don’t need to fight wars for energy. Wind expensive and kills birds. The fumes from the factories to make massive windmills is terribly cancer. Solar doesn’t quite have it yet. To really run our big beautiful factories. Natural gas is clean. If you want to kill the economy, get rid of oil.

Biden: I never said he opposed fracking. I do rule out banning fracking. We need it. Need it to transition to zero emissions by 2025.

Trump: Biden was against it. Now for it to win PA. Will be against it.

Welker: People of color near polluting places. Worried about getting sick. Admin rolled back regulations.

Trump: Families talking about employed heavily and making real money. They’re making 9 times greater than under Obama and Biden. They saved oil industry. We got all the oil companies to cut back on production to save our industry. Cheap gas.

Biden: Those people live on fence lines near chemical plants, refineries, etc. that pollute. Biden claims he lived that way. Pay doesn’t matter; keeping them safe matters. [I don’t think that’s true.] Biden will transition from oil industry because it pollutes.

Trump: That’s a big statement.

Biden: Has to be replaced by renewables. [It is impossible for renewables to replace fossil fuel.]

Trump: He’s going to destroy that the oil industry — calls out the oil producing states.

Biden: We have to move to net zero emissions. 2035 energy reduction. By 2050 totally. He’s going to rejoin Paris Accord and China to confirm.

At inauguration: What does Trump say to Americans who didn’t vote for him

We’re going to rebuild our country. Before plague came in, I was getting calls from people who wanted to work with him based on people thriving economically (women, blacks, Asians, etc.). Success will bring us together. If Biden gets in, a terrible Depression.

Same question to Biden:

I represent all Americans. Science over fiction, hope over fear, will grow economy, deal with systemic racism, and make sure economy runs on clean energy. The character of this country is on ballot. “Respect, treating people with dignity.”