Indian air filthy, says Trump; Biden flags black rights, north Korea

Trump seemed to corner Biden on issues like law on drug possession and the 1994 crime bill.

The President suggested attempts to tally all ballots amounted to disenfranchising his supporters. File Photo

There are no red state or blue states but only United States after I become president was probably the high point of Joe Biden’s body of arguments at the last presidential debate with Donald Trump at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee. 

The relatively civil debate saw the president repeatedly and pointedly asking his contender to explain why they [the Obama administration] failed to act on aspects refugee crisis and inclusive health care. The more pointed questions that moderator Kristen Welker put forth were evaded with sweeping remarks by President Trump as much as Joe Biden tried to bring rationale to the table, with more specific answers.

The debate was neatly classified into non-contiguous topics like North Korea, families and health care, work and food security, race in America, and environment and climate change; each speaker getting open the topic by answering to the question from the moderator. The responder could talk, if he wished, for 10 seconds.

 Trump seemed to corner Biden on issues like law on drug possession and the 1994 crime bill. Biden’s stance that those who had a drugs issue had to go to rehabilitation centres and not to jails gave Trump an opportunity to hit back. He said the Biden was the one who fought for a law which was against the spirit of this way back in the 1990s. Biden said, “it was a mistake.” He said all the senators voted for the law and it was a 100 per cent vote.

On North Korea

Trump said he had a good relationship with ‘the guy’ [Kim Jong-un] and swooped back to the argument that the Obama administration did nothing to ensure peace in the region. He said Obama, during his final meeting with the new President [Trump] had said that North Korea was the single largest issue. Biden said Obama refused to meet the Korean dictator because he wanted a ‘complete’ dismantling of the nuclear weapons the country had. Trump, in a gained upper hand, said Kim Jong-un was a ‘different guy’ and probably ‘he too thinks of me like that.’ Biden called Kim and the ‘likes of him’ thugs. He flayed the Trump administration’s moves that ‘legitimised Korea.’

Health and families

Another major debate point which took up time was the issue of ACA or the affordable care act. Trump vehemently argued that Biden and the Democrats would bring about a ‘public option’ that would render the health policies and premiums of millions of Americans useless. Biden said the plan was to be as inclusive a possible and to not limit healthcare to the affluent alone. Notably, Trump, like in the previous debate, could not answer how ‘pre-existing conditions’ would be protected. The president trashed Obama Care and said, “it is not going to work however well you run it.”

Work and food security

Trump’s singular point of attack on the food security act was directed at House speaker Nanci Pelosi, who, he said, did not want to ‘approve anything.’

Race in America 

The debate then turned to race in America, and Biden launched an offensive by saying how well he was aware of the issue. Saying that his daughter had a graduate degree in social work and black parents were telling their wards to be extremely careful to not get into any unintended skirmishes, however simple. He said parents were asking their children to ‘not wear hoodies’ and ‘keep their hands on the wheels where the cops can see’ to ensure their own safety. Trump retorted by saying that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign sent out a very bad message initially, pointing to a campaign statement that he reportedly saw them use against the police: “Pigs in blankets and we need to roast them.” he said it was a very bad thing to say. 

Biden retorted by stating that Trump was ‘institutionalising racism’ in America and his administration would ‘move the needle closer to inclusion and not to exclusion.’ 

Climate change, environment

Trump once again came as a man with no facts as he said, “I love the environment, I love everything,” when asked about what steps were being taken to be more accountable and proactive with regard to climate change and the Paris Accord. He was quick to say that the ‘Indian air was filthy,’ and moved on a tangent to say that ‘they have’ taken away trade opportunities. “I walked out of the Paris Accord as we had to take out trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly,” he said. [It is to be noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are to visit New Delhi for talks on a range of issues]. 

Commentators, immediately after the debate, said president Trump looked to have listened to his advisors as the debate was more civil and polite. They said the Trump office staff could ‘exhale’ as there was no major ‘wild remark’ the president made that they would have to ‘handle, firefight, and set right.’ 

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