Hot topics close

Presidential debate live: Trump and Biden clash for final time ahead of 2020 US election

US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden meet on the debate stage for the third and final presidential debate of the 2020 US election. Follow live.

For the final time of the 2020 US election campaign, US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden meet on the debate stage.

After the first debate was a disaster and the second one was cancelled, expectations are high for the final clash in Nashville.

Follow the debate live in the blog below and watch in the video player above.

Key events

Leave a comment

Live updates
4mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:56am

By Peter Marsh

Key Event
Was this the mute button being used? 


I missed this in the moment, but it certainly appears that Trump's mic was cut as his opening two minutes on health care expired. ICYMI, each candidate gets two minutes to talk uninterrupted at the start of each segment. When it's their opponents time, their mic is muted. The mics are on for the rest of the segment.

7mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:53am

By Emily Olson

We're on to healthcare now

Welker asked Trump what he would do for the 20 million Americans who would have their health insurance taken away if the Affordable Care Act was overturned under a new conservative majority on the Supreme Court. 

Trump said he wanted to come up with a "brand new beautiful healthcare" plan, but he was light on the specifics beyond saying he'd protect pre-existing conditions. He ended by claiming Biden will end private insurance, which is not something the former vice-president has pledged. 

"Joe Biden is going to terminate all of those policies. These are people who love their healthcare. People have been successful -- middle income people who have been successful. They have 180 million plans, 180 million plans. What he wants to do, which will basically be socialised medicine and they won't even have a choice, they want to terminate 180 million million plans. We have done an incredible job on healthcare and we are doing to do even better."

Biden focused on Trump's lack of a clear plan, then laid out his own: 

"I am going to pass Obamacare with a public option to become Bidencare. If you qualify for Medicaid and don't have the wherewithal in your state then you are automatically enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies. That is what is going to happen. Secondly, we're going to make sure we the premiums and drug prices decrease by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the insurance companies. Thirdly, the idea that I watch to eliminate private insurers, the reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for nomination, was I support private insurance. Not one single person on private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan nor did they under Obamacare."

8mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:52am

By Peter Marsh

A little argy-bargy with the moderator


Like you've all seen, things have been much less heated tonight than the first debate. But Trump and Welker just got into a little back-and-forth.


There's some cross-talk and Welker tries to get back control by saying there are "a lot of questions to get to". It was the kind of thing you'd see in a normal debate to be honest, but it's worth nothing given how wild things got at the first, and how placid things have been so far.

12mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:48am

By Peter Marsh

North Korea comes up 

Trump is asked if North Korea has "betrayed" him given recent that it is still developing its nuclear arsenal.


"I have a very good relationship with him, a different kind of a guy, but he probably thinks the same kind of thing about me. We have a different kind of relationship. We have a very good relationship and there is no war," Trump said.


"Instead of being in a war where millions of people, you know, Seoul is 25 miles away, millions and millions, there are 32 million people in Seoul, 32 million people would be dead, we don't have a war I have a good relationship."


Biden said there was only one condition under which he would meet with Kim Jong-Un:


"On the condition that he would agree to drawing down his earlier capacity. The Korean Peninsula should be a nuclear free zone."

15mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:44am

By Peter Marsh

Biden says Trump is bringing up "malarkey" 

Biden's pretty frustrated with the back-and-forth on the allegations, so he tries to steer the debate back on ground he wants to talk about:


"Look stop there is a reason why he is bringing up all this malarkey. There is a reason for it. He doesn't want to talk about the substance of issues. It is not about his family and my family. It is about your family. And your family is hurting badly. If you are making less than, if you are a middle-class family, you are getting hurt badly right now. You're sitting at the kitchen table this deciding, well, we can't get new tires because we have to wait another month or so, or are we going to be able to pay the mortgage, or who is going to tell her that she can't go back to community college? They are the decisions you are making, the middle-class families like I grew up within Scranton. They are in trouble. We should be talking about your family's but that is the last thing he wants to talk about," Biden said.


Trump says that is the response of a "typical politician":


"Just a typical politician. I'm not a typical politician. That's why I got elected," Trump said.

17mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:42am

By Emily Olson

What you think of this debate

Oof. Tough critics. We're nearly at the halfway mark though, so we'll see if this second half might change your mind. 

I feel like we are watching two monkeys slinging mud at each other and trying to get some to stick

-Mud bash

This is pitiful and pathetic. One is stating information that can be fact checked, the other is making it up as he goes along and avoiding the hard questions. You decide which is which. Good grief! I weep for democracy. Sadly the great unwashed will fall for it hook, line and sinker!

-Andrew Dunkley

I like this moderator.


There is too much emphasis on these debates, as though it is just a popularity contest. Serious policy issues are avoided. What about discussing the appalling state of the electoral process in America and their failure as a democratic society.

-Gordon Payne

I cant watch Trump. He makes no sense. He's a bully.


19mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:40am

By Peter Marsh

Trump is asked about a New York Times story 

Welker asked Trump that given that story, how can voters trust that he doesn't have foreign conflicting interests.


Trump says he has "many bank accounts".


"They are over the place. I mean, I was a businessman doing business. The bank account you are referring to, which is, everyone knows about it, it is listed, the bank account was in 2013, that is when it was. It was closed in 2015, I believe. And then I decided, because I was thinking about doing a deal on China, like, millions of other people, I was thinking about it and I decided I'm not going to do it, I didn't like it, I decided not to do it, I have an account open and I closed it," Trump said.

21mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:38am

By Peter Marsh

Biden is asked by the moderator about Hunter Biden
ABC News


Welker asks if anything was "unethical". Biden says "nothing was unethical".


"Here is the deal. With regards to Ukraine, we had this whole question about whether or not, because he was on the board of Burisma, company, somehow I had done something wrong. Yet every single person going through his impeachment, testing under oath, said I did his job impeccably. I carried out US policy. Not one single solitary thing was out of line. Not a single thing," Biden said.


"My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China? I have not... The only guy that made money from China is this guy. The only one. Nobody else has made money from China."

22mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:38am

By Emily Olson

A few links to help you understand this section on foreign entanglements
24mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:35am

By Peter Marsh

Here's Biden full response to the President's challenge

"I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life. We learned that this president paid 50 times the tax in China as a secret bank account with China, does business in China, and in fact is talking about me taking money? I've not taken a single penny in any country whatsoever, ever. Number one. Number two, this is a president, I have released all of my tax returns. 22 years. Look at them. 22 years of my tax returns. You have not released a single solitary year of your tax returns. What are you hiding? Why are you unwilling? The foreign countries are paying you a lot. Russia is paying you a lot. China is paying you a lot. And your hotels and all your businesses all around the country, all around the world. And China is building a new road to a golf course you have overseas. So what is going on here? Why don't you release your tax returns and stop talking about corruption?"

26mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:34am

By Peter Marsh

Trump is asked the same question 
ABC News


The President says that "I never got any money from Russia".


"About your thing last night, I knew all about that. Through, John, John Radcliffe who is fantastic. He said, the one thing that is common to both of them, they both want you to loose because there has been nobody tougher on Russia between the sanctions, nobody tougher than me on Russia between the sanctions, between all of what I have done. I have got the NATO countries to put up an extra Iran billion - $420 billion a year to go against Russia," Trump said.


Trump then pivots to the current story about Hunter Biden:


"All of the emails, the emails, horrible emails of the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family. And you are Vice President when some of this was happening and it should have never happened. I think you owe an explanation to the American people. Why is it? Somebody just at a news conference a little while ago who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family but what he said was damning. And regardless of me, I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people," Trump said.

28mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:32am

By Emily Olson

A totally different kind of debate

We're about 25 minutes in now, and it's clear that this debate is not the same debate we saw last time. We're not seeing a lot of fireworks. The closest direct exchange we got was probably this little exchange over campaign finance: 

"You shouldn't be bringing up Wall Street because you're the one who takes money from Wall Street, not me. I could blow away your records like you wouldn't believe. We don't need money, we have plenty of money. In fact, we beat Hillary Clinton with a tiny fraction of the money she was able to get stop don't tell me about Wall Street," Donald Trump said.

Joe Biden, unmuted, tried to interrupt Trump several times. But instead he just laughed and waited patiently for Trump to conclude so he could chime in. 

"The average contribution to my campaign is $43."

But even without the fireworks, we're not hearing much of substance on the issues, and to my ear, we haven't heard anything * new * when it comes to policy. It's almost hard to point out the big moments because they all feel like words we've heard before. 

29mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:30am

By Peter Marsh

It's time to talk national security  

Biden gets the first question from Welker, and is asking what he would do to stop other countries meddling in US elections.


"I made it clear and I asked everyone else to take the pledge. Any country, no matter who it is, her interviews with American elections will pay a price. They will pay a price. It has been overwhelmingly clear the selection, no-one ever get into the last ones, the selection that Russia has been involved, China has been involved to some degree and now we learn that Iran has been involved. They will pay a price if I am elected. They are interfering with American sovereignty," Biden said.


Biden hesitates, then says "I shouldn't, but I will", then bring up Rudy Giuliani.


"His buddy Rudy Giuliani, he has been used as a Russian pawn. He has been fed information that is not true and then what happens — pawn, and then you find out that everything going on here about Russia is anting to make sure that I do not get elected the next president of United States because they know I know them and they know me," Biden says.

32mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:27am

By Peter Marsh

Trump is asked about his clash with Anthony Fauci   
ABC News


Welker asks: "This week, you called Doctor Anthony Fauci, the nation's best-known infectious disease expert, quote a disaster and other experts, quote, idiots. If you're not listening to them, who are you listening to then?"


Trump says that he listens to "all of them", but brings up times he says Fauci went wrong:


"We have learned a lot but Anthony said don't wear a mask and now he wants to wear masks. He also said if you look back on his exact words, this is no problem, this is going to go away soon. He is allowed to make mistakes. He happens to be a good person," Trump said.


Biden response by reminding viewers of the Bob Woodward interview:


"My response is to think about what the President knew in January and didn't tell the American people. He was told this was a serious virus that spread in the air and it was much worse, much worse than the flu. He went on record and said to one of your colleagues, on a recording, that he in fact knew how dangerous it was but he didn't want to tell us. He didn't want to tell us because he didn't want us to panic. Americans don't panic. He panicked," Biden said.

38mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:22am

By Peter Marsh

Biden is asked about the ongoing effect of shutdowns 

Welker asked Biden what he would say to Americans who are worried that shutting down the country is more dangerous than coronavirus.


Biden said he would shutdown the virus, not the country. 


"I'm not shutting down the neighbourhood. We need standards. This standard is, if you have a reproduction rate in the community that is above a certain level, everybody says, slow up, more social distancing. Do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums, don't open until it is under control, and more control. When you do open, give the people the capacity to be able to open and have the capacity to do it safely. For example, schools, they need a lot of money to open. They need to do a ventilation systems, there with smaller classes, more teachers, more pods, and he has refused to support that money - at least up until now."


Given a chance to follow-up, Trump says "all he does is talk about shutdowns".


"I want to open schools. The transmission rate to teachers is very small but I want to open the schools and we have to open our country. When I going to have a country. We can't get this country closed. This is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs, they are committing suicide, there is depression, alcohol, drugs, at a level that nobody has ever seen before. There is abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country. I have set it often, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself," Trump said.

42mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:18am

By Peter Marsh

Biden brings up the bleach 

Trump was on the defensive, saying it wasn't his fault that COVID-19 came to America.

"It is not my fault that it came here, it is China's fault and it is not Joe's told that it came here either. It is China's fault. They kept it from going into the rest of China for the most part but they didn't keep it from coming out to the world, including Europe and ourselves."   

Biden doesn't let it go:


"The fact is, when we knew it was coming, when it hit, what happens, what are the president say? He said, don't worry, it will go away. It will be gone by Easter. Don't worry, the warm weather. Inject bleach. He said he was kidding when he said that but a lot of people thought he was serious. A whole range of things the president has said, even today, he things we are in control. We are about to lose 200,000 more people."

44mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:16am

By Emily Olson

Is Trump taking notes? 

It appears he was doing just that during Biden's first answer. This is unusual for the President, whose off-the-cuff debate style is what his supporters love most. 



We've seen some fun facial expressions -- a few head shakes and skeptical side eyes -- and we've heard some harsh words exchanged over coronavirus. But no interruptions as of yet. It appears the mute button is doing the intended trick. 

44mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:15am

By Peter Marsh

Trump is pressed on a vaccine 

Welker asks if Trump's timeline is realistic, given Trump administration officials have said it could take until 2021 to roll a vaccine out.


"I think it will be by the end of the year. I think it has a good chance. There are two companies within a matter of weeks and I think it will be distributed very quickly," Trump said.


"I don't know that they are counting on a military the way I do. But we have our generals lined up on the one in particular that is the head of logistics, and this is a very easy distribution for him. He's ready to go as soon as we have the vaccine, and we expect to have 100 million vials. As soon as we have the vaccine he is ready to go."


Biden says that America is about to enter a "dark winter".


"We are about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter. And he has no clear plan and there is no prospect that there is going to be a vaccine available for a majority of the American people before the middle of next year," Biden said.

49mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:11am

By Peter Marsh

Biden gets the same question     

And he starts in much starker terms compared to the President.


"220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this," Biden said.


"What I would do is make sure that we have everybody encouraged to wear a mask all the time. I would make sure that we move in the direction of rapid testing, investing in rapid testing. I would make sure that we set up national standards as to how to open up schools and open up businesses so they can be safe," Biden said.


"I will take care of this, I will end this, I will make sure that we have a plan."

51mminutes agoFriFriday 23 OctOctober 2020 at 1:09am

By Peter Marsh

Trump gets the first question — on COVID-19   

He's asked about a third wave hitting the US and how he's going to lead the US through this next stage.


Trump says there have been spikes and surges before, but they're gone now. And this spike will go too.


"There was a very big spike in Arizona and it is now gone. And there were some spikes and surges in other places, they will soon be gone. We have a vaccine that is coming, it is ready, it is going to be announced within weeks, and it is going to be delivered," he said.


He says that America is "rounding the turn".


"I have been congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we have enabled to do, if you take a look at what we have done in terms of goggles and masks and gowns and everything else, and in particular, ventilators. We are now making ventilators all over the world. Thousands and thousands a month, distributing them all over the world. It will go away, and as I say, we are rounding the turn, we're rounding the corner, it is going away."

Show more posts
Similar shots