rainn.png
Thursday October 29th, 2020 10:08AM

Trump, Biden go at it — from a distance — in town halls

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden squared off, in a way, in dueling televised town halls that showcased striking differences in temperament, views on racial justice and approaches to a pandemic that has reshaped the nation.

Coming just two and a half weeks before Election Day, the events Thursday night offered crystalizing contrasts and a national, if divided, audience. But it seemed unlikely to have produced a needed moment for a president running out of time or opportunities to appeal beyond his core base.

He was defensive about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 217,000 lives in the United States, and evasive when pressed about whether he took a required COVID-19 test before his first debate with Biden. Angry and combative, Trump refused to denounce the QAnon conspiracy group — and only testily did so regarding white supremacists.

The Republican 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 it was owed to a foreign bank. But he insisted that he didn’t owe any money to Russia or any “sinister people” and suggested that $400 million in debt was a “very, very small percentage” compared to his overall assets.

Biden denounced the White House’s handling of the virus, declaring that it was at fault for closing a pandemic response office established by the Obama administration in which he served. Though vague at times, he suggested he will offer clarity on his position on expanding the Supreme Court if Trump's nominee to the bench is seated before Election Day.

After Biden’s 90-minute town hall event formally concluded, the candidate spent another half-hour taking questions from those in the audience who didn’t get an opportunity during the televised program.

Trump and Biden were supposed to spend Thursday night on the same debate stage in Miami. But that faceoff was scuttled after Trump’s coronavirus infection, which jolted the race and threatened the health of the American president.

Trump wouldn't say whether he had tested negative on the day of his first debate with Biden on Sept. 29, allowing only, “Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t.” Debate rules required that each candidate, using the honor system, had tested negative prior to the Cleveland event, but Trump spoke in circles when asked when he last tested negative.

The presidential rivals took questions in different cities on different networks: Trump on NBC from Miami, Biden on ABC from Philadelphia. Trump backed out of plans for the presidential faceoff originally scheduled for the evening after debate organizers said it would be held virtually following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

The town halls offered a different format for the two candidates to present themselves to voters, after the pair held a chaotic and combative first debate late last month. The difference in the men’s tone was immediate and striking.

Trump was Trump. He was loud and argumentative, rebuking his FBI director, fighting with the host, Savannah Guthrie, complaining about the questioning — and eventually saying for the first time that he would honor the results of a fair election, but only after casting an extraordinary amount of doubt on the likeliness of fairness.

“And then they talk, ’Will you accept a peaceful transfer?'" Trump said. “And the answer is, ‘Yes, I will.’ But I want it to be an honest election, and so does everybody else.”

He again sought to minimize revelations from a New York Times investigation that he has more than $400 million in debt and suggested that reports are wrong that he paid little or no federal income taxes in most years over the past two decades.

Biden, meanwhile, took a far different, softer approach with audience questions. The former vice president, who struggled growing up with a stutter, stuttered slightly at the start of the program and at one point squeezed his eyes shut and slowed down his response to clearly enunciate his words. At times his answers droned on.

Holding a white cloth mask in one hand, the Democratic nominee brought a small card of notes onstage and referred to it while promising to roll back tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He said doing so would save, as he consulted his notes, “let me see ... $92 billion.”

Biden vowed to say before Election Day whether he will support expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court if Democrats win the presidency and the Senate and hold the House after November.

He has for weeks refused to answer the question but went further Thursday night. He said, “I’m still not a fan” of expanding the court, but said his ultimate decision depended on how the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court “is handled” and “how much they rush this.”

Biden also blasted Trump's foreign policy, declaring that “'America first' has made ‘America alone’" and “This president embraces all the thugs in the world.” He turned introspective when asked what it would say if he lost.

“It could say that I’m a lousy candidate, that I didn’t do a good job,” Biden said. “But I think, I hope that it doesn’t say that we’re as racially, ethnically and religiously at odds as it appears the president wants us to be.”

Biden said he plans to participate in next week’s debate but he would ask Trump to take a COVID-19 test before arriving. "It’s just decency” for everyone around him, including non-candidates like camera operators, Biden said.

The two men are still scheduled to occupy the same space for a debate for a second and final time next week in Nashville.

___

Lemire reported from New York. Additional reporting by Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Wilmington, Delaware, and Zeke Miller and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Black scholars form effort to fight trolls, disinformation
A group of U.S. Black scholars, activists, and writers has launched a new project combat misleading information online around voting, reparations and immigration
11:52PM ( 12 minutes ago )
New Zealand to vote on legalizing marijuana and euthanasia
New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia
11:44PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Mexico's ex-defense minister arrested in Los Angeles
Former Mexican defense secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos has been arrested in Los Angeles
11:43PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump, Biden go at it -- from a distance -- in town halls
President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden squared off, in a way, Thursday night, their scuttled second debate replaced by dueling televised town halls
10:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Campaign says Trump defeated town hall moderator
A spokesperson for President Donald Trump’s campaign is declaring that the president “defeated” town hall moderator, Savannah Guthrie, and derided the NBC “Today” host as a “surrogate” for Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign
10:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tourists return to Hawaii amid ever-changing pandemic rules
Coronavirus-weary residents and struggling business owners in Hawaii will be watching closely as tourists begin to return to the islands on Thursday without having to self-quarantine upon arrival if they test negative for the coronavirus
10:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Trump claims mask wearers infected all the time
President Donald Trump says, without evidence, that people who wear face masks are getting infected with the coronavirus “all the time.”
8:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump falsely says he knows nothing about QAnon
President Donald Trump is refusing to condemn a conspiracy theory that holds that the government is run by anti-Trump Satanic pedophiles, but he is condemning white supremacy
8:27PM ( 3 hours ago )
Black man's family views graphic video of in-custody death
Family members viewed graphic body-camera video this week of a Black man who died in Louisiana State Police custody following a high-speed chase
7:46PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Biden says he won't eliminate all Trump tax cuts
Democrat Joe Biden says he doesn’t plan to eliminate all the tax cuts enacted by President Donald Trump, just those that apply to the top earners
8:34PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump, Biden square off, in a way, in dueling town halls
President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are squaring off, in a way, with their scuttled second debate replaced by dueling televised town halls several channels apart
8:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Dueling town halls with Trump and Biden begin
The dueling town halls have begun
8:00PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
TV gives viewers a split-screen comparison of Trump, Biden
Instead of the expected debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, television viewers were left Thursday with what ABC’s David Muir called “split-screen America.”
10:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Biden: Trump not 'chastened' by racial injustice
Democrat Joe Biden says President Donald Trump has not been “chastened” by the claims of racial injustice that have marked his presidency
9:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Why tech giants limited the spread of NY Post story on Biden
When Facebook and Twitter moved quickly this week to limit the spread of an unverified political story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post, it led to predictable cries of censorship from the right
8:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
GOP pushes Barrett's nomination ahead, Dems decry 'sham'
The Senate Judiciary Committee has set an Oct 22 vote on recommending approval of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination
1:27PM ( 10 hours ago )
Harris highlights stakes of election in Barrett hearings
Kamala Harris used three days of Supreme Court hearings this week to remind voters about the stakes of the November election and how Democrat Joe Biden would govern if elected president
1:18PM ( 10 hours ago )
Senate Judiciary sets vote on Barrett, Dems decry 'sham'
The Senate Judiciary Committee has set an Oct 22 vote on recommending approval of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination
11:29AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Trump's election-eve drug discounts for seniors get snagged
President Donald Trump’s plan to mail millions of seniors a $200 prescription savings card has hit legal and budget roadblocks, making it unlikely the government can carry it out before Election Day
5:21PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Harris says Biden campaign takes virus seriously
Kamala Harris says the Democratic presidential campaign’s response to positive coronavirus tests among their team “obviously stands in stark contrast to you-know-who.”
5:07PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: 3rd person tied to Biden campaign tests positive
A third person tied to Joe Biden’s campaign has tested positive for the coronavirus
4:24PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Biden thanks GOP donors after record fundraising
Democrat Joe Biden is thanking some Republican donors as he celebrates a record-breaking campaign fundraising haul from last month
1:48PM ( 10 hours ago )
As election uncertainty sweeps markets, the pros hold steady
This presidential election is clearly unlike any other, but investors might be wise to treat it just like most of the previous ones
11:38AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP-NORC poll: Americans critical of Trump handling of virus
With less than three weeks until Election Day, majorities of Americans are highly critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of both the coronavirus pandemic and his own illness
10:32AM ( 13 hours ago )
General Election News
NBC faces backlash after agreeing to Trump town hall
NBC News says it'll host President Donald Trump for a town hall-styled event on Thursday, after the president submitted to a coronavirus test administered by the National Institutes of Health
10:56PM ( 1 day ago )
Georgia Sen. Loeffler and GOP candidate Greene set event
U.S. Sen Kelly Loeffler will be hitting the campaign trail again Thursday with fellow Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene
5:22PM ( 1 day ago )
After independent coronavirus test, NBC sets Trump town hall
NBC News says it'll host President Donald Trump for a town hall-styled event on Thursday, after the president submitted to a coronavirus test administered by the National Institutes of Health
1:27PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Black scholars form effort to fight trolls, disinformation
A group of U.S. Black scholars, activists, and writers has launched a new project combat misleading information online around voting, reparations and immigration
11:52PM ( 12 minutes ago )
New Zealand to vote on legalizing marijuana and euthanasia
New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia
11:44PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Mexico's ex-defense minister arrested in Los Angeles
Former Mexican defense secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos has been arrested in Los Angeles
11:43PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Asian shares mixed amid 2nd wave coronavirus, election fears
Asian shares are mixed as investors weigh concerns about the U.S. presidential election and an economic stimulus package, on top of fears of flaring outbreaks of coronavirus
11:33PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Cincinnati-Tulsa postponed due to Bearcats' COVID-19 issues
No. 8 Cincinnati's weekend game at Tulsa has been postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among Bearcats players
11:27PM ( 37 minutes ago )