As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 223,000, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday in the second and final debate of the 2020 campaign. They sparred over the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, climate change, racism, U.S. immigration policy and healthcare. At one point in the 90-minute debate, Trump conflated Biden’s call for a government-run “public option” healthcare plan with a Medicare for All bill authored by Senator Bernie Sanders.
President Donald Trump: “When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare, totally destroying” —
Joe Biden: “Wrong.”
President Donald Trump: — “and destroying your Social Security. And this whole country will come down. You know, Bernie Sanders tried it in his state.” …
Joe Biden: “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”
Thursday’s matchup was originally scheduled to be the third and final debate, but Trump scuttled a second appearance earlier this month after refusing to take part remotely following his hospitalization with COVID-19. After headlines, we’ll spend the rest of the hour on last night’s presidential debate.