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President Trump, Joe Biden face off in dueling televised town halls

US Elections: Trump, Joe Biden, Face Off in Duelling Televised Town Halls

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden clashed in a televised town hall duels that presented striking differences in temperament, views on racial justice, and approaches to a pandemic which reshaped the country.
Arriving just two and a half weeks before Election Day, Thursday night’s events offered crystal-clear contrasts and a national audience. But it seemed unlikely that he produced a crucial moment for a president strapped for time or opportunities to appeal beyond his fundamental base.
He was on the defensive mode about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 215,000 Americans, and evasive when pressed to find out if he had taken a mandatory Covid-19 test before his first debate with Biden.
Angry and combative, Trump refused to expose the QAnon conspiracy group – and only did so in a testamentary way regarding white supremacists.
The US president also appeared to acknowledge revelations from a recent New York Times report that he was in debt and left open the possibility that some of that debt was owed to a foreign bank. But he insisted he did not owe Russia or any “sinister people” money and suggested that $400 million in debt was a “very, very small percentage” of his assets.
Biden has denounced the White House’s handling of the virus, saying he was responsible for shutting down a pandemic response office set up by the Obama administration in which he served. Although at times vague, he suggested he would clarify his position on expanding the Supreme Court if Trump’s presidential candidate is seated before election day.
After the official closing of Biden’s 90-minute Town Hall, the candidate spent another half an hour answering questions from those in the audience who hadn’t had a chance during the TV show.
Trump and Biden were supposed to spend Thursday night on the same debate stage in Miami. But that confrontation was scuttled after Trump’s coronavirus infection, which rocked the race and threatened the health of the US president.
Trump would not say if he tested negative on the day of his first debate with Biden on September 29, allowing only, “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.”
The rules of the discussion required every candidate, using the honor system, to test negative before the Cleveland event, but Trump circled when asked when did he last tested negative.
Presidential rivals asked questions in different cities on different networks: Trump on NBC from Miami, Biden on ABC from Philadelphia. Trump has backed down from plans for the presidential showdown initially scheduled for the evening after debate organizers said he would virtually stand after his Covid-19 diagnosis.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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