2020 Election Second Presidential Debate Transcript: Joe Biden & Donald Trump

Joe Biden and Donald Trump participated in the second Presidential Debate of the 2020 election on October 22, 2020 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Download and read a copy of the debate transcription here.

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Note: This debate was transcribed and proofread by SpeakWrite professionals from Arizona, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. As with all SpeakWrite transcripts, no AI was utilized to transcribe this debate.

KRISTEN WELKER:   Good evening from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’m Kristen Welker of NBC News, and I welcome you to the final 2020 Presidential Debate between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.  Tonight’s debate is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.  It is conducted under health and safety protocols designed by the Commission’s health security advisor.  The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent.  No cheers, boos, or other interruptions except right now, as we welcome to the stage former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald J. Trump.  And I do want to say a very good evening to both of you.  This debate will cover six major topics.  At the beginning of each section, each candidate will have 2 minutes uninterrupted to answer my first question.  The debate commission will then turn on their microphone only when it is their turn to answer, and the commission will turn it off exactly when the 2 minutes have expired.  After that, both microphones will remain on, but on behalf of the voters, I’m going to ask you to please speak one at a time.  The goal is for you to hear each other and for the American people to hear every word of what you both have to say.  And so, with that, if you’re ready, let’s start, and we will begin with the fight against the coronavirus.  President Trump, the first question is for you.  The country is heading into a dangerous new phase.  More than 40,000 Americans are in the hospital tonight with COVID, including record numbers here in Tennessee, and since the two of you last shared a stage, 16,000 Americans have died from COVID.  So please be specific.  How would you lead the country during this next stage of the coronavirus crisis?  Two minutes uninterrupted. 

DONALD TRUMP: So, as you know, 2.2 million people modeled out were expected to die.  We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China.  It’s a worldwide pandemic.  It’s all over the world.  You see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now.  Uh, if you notice, the mortality rate is down 85 percent.  Uh, the excess mortality rate is way down and much lower than almost every other country, and we’re fighting it, and we’re fighting it hard.  There is a spike – there was a spike in Florida, and it’s now gone.  There was a very big spike in Texas; it’s now gone.  There was a very big spike in Arizona; it’s now gone, and there are some spikes and surges in other places.  They will soon be gone.  We have a vaccine that’s coming.  It’s ready.  It’s going to be announced within weeks, and it’s going to be delivered.  We have, uh, Operation Warp Speed, which is – the military is going to distribute the vaccine.  I can tell you from personal experience that, uh, I was in the hospital.  I had it and I got better, and I will tell you that, uh, I had something that they gave me, a therapeutic, I guess they would call it.  Some people could say it was a cure, but, uh, I was in for a short period of time and I got better very fast, or I wouldn’t be here tonight, and now they say I’m immune.  Whether it’s 4 months or a lifetime, nobody’s been able to say that, but I’m immune.  Uh, more and more people are getting better.  We have, uh, a problem that’s a worldwide problem.  This is a worldwide problem, but I’ve been congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we’ve been able to do, uh, with the – if you, if you take a look at what we’ve done in terms of goggles and masks and gowns and everything else, and, in particular, ventilators.  We’re 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’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner.  It’s going away. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, former Vice President Biden, to you, how would you lead the country out of this crisis?  You have 2 minutes uninterrupted. 

JOE BIDEN: 220,000 Americans dead.  If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this.  Anyone who’s responsible for not taking control, in fact, not saying I’m – I take no responsibility initially, anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.  We’re in a situation where there are a thousand deaths a day now.  A thousand deaths a day, and there are over 70,000 new cases per day.  Compared to what’s going on in Europe, as the New England Medical Journal said, they’re starting from a very low rate, we’re starting from a very high rate.  The expectation is we’ll have another 200,000 Americans dead between now and the end of the year.  If we just wore these masks, the President’s own advisors had told him, we could save 100,000 lives.  And we’re in a circumstance where the President, thus far, still has no plan, no comprehensive plan.  What I would do is make sure we have everyone encouraged to wear a mask all the time.  I would make sure 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 and give them the wherewithal, the financial resources to be able to do that.  We’re in a situation now where the New England Medical Journal, one of the serious, most-serious journals in the, in the whole world, said for the first time ever that this, the way this President has responded to this crisis has been absolutely tragic.  And so folks, I will take care of this.  I will end this.  I will make sure we have a plan. 

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, I’d like to follow up with you and your comments.  You talked about taking a therapeutic.  I assume you’re referencing Regeneron.  You also said a vaccine will be coming within weeks? 

DONALD TRUMP: Yes. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Is that a guarantee?  Is – 

DONALD TRUMP: No, it’s not a guarantee, but it will be by the end of the year, but I think it has a good chance.  There are two companies I think within a matter of weeks, and it will be distributed very quickly. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Can you tell us which companies? 

DONALD TRUMP: Uh, Johnson and Johnson is doing very well.  Moderna is doing very well.  Pfizer’s doing very well, and we have numerous others.  Then we also have others that we’re working on very closely with other countries, in particular, Europe. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me follow up with you, because this is new information.  You have said a vaccine is coming soon, within weeks now.  Your own officials say it could take well into 2021, at the earliest, for enough Americans to get vaccinated, and even then, they say the country will be wearing masks and distancing into 2022.  Is your timeline realistic? 

DONALD TRUMP: No, I think my timeline’s going to be more accurate.  I don’t know that they’re counting on the military the way I do, but we have our generals lined up, one in particular that’s 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’s ready to go. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your reaction, and just 40 percent of Americans say they would definitely agree to take a coronavirus vaccine if it was approved by the government.  What steps would you take to give Americans confidence in a vaccine if it were approved? 

JOE BIDEN: Make sure it’s totally transparent.  Have the science world see it, know it, look at it, go through all the processes.  And, by the way, he’s, this is the same fellow who told you this was going to end by Easter last time.  This is the same fellow who told you that don’t worry, we’re going to end this by the summer.  We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he has no clear plan, and there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year. 

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your reaction?  He says you have no plan. 

DONALD TRUMP: I don’t think we’re going to have a dark winter at all.  We’re opening up our country.  We’ve learned and studied and understand the disease, which we didn’t at the beginning.  When I closed and banned China from coming in heavily infected and then ultimately Europe, but China was in January, months later, he was saying I was xenophobic, I did it too soon.  Now he’s saying oh, I should’ve, uh, I should’ve, you know, moved quicker.  But he didn’t move quicker.  He was months behind me, many months behind me.  And frankly, he ran the H1N1, Swine Flu, and it was a total disaster.  Far less lethal, but it was a total disaster.  Had that had this kind of  numbers, 700,000 people would be dead right now, but it was a far less lethal disease.  Uh, look, his own person who ran that for him, who, as you know, was his, uh, chief of staff, said it was catastrophic, it was horrible, we didn’t know what we were doing.  Now he comes up and he tells us how to do this.  Also, everything that he said about the way every-single move that he said we should make, that’s what we’ve done.  We’ve done all of it, but he was way behind us. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response?

JOE BIDEN: My response is, he is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China, and he did it late, after 40 countries had already done that.  In addition to that, what he did, he made sure that we had 44 people that were in there, in China, trying to get to Wuhan to determine what exactly the source was.  What did the President say in January?  He said no, he said this is, he’s being transparent, the president of China’s being transparent.  We owe him a debt of gratitude.  We ought to, we have to thank him.  And, and then what happened was, we started talking about using the Defense Act to make sure we go out and get whatever is needed out there to protect people.  And again, I go back to this, he had nothing, he did virtually nothing.  And then, he gets out of the hospital, and he talks about we’re, this is, oh, don’t worry.  It’s all, all going to be over soon.  Come on, there’s not another serious scientist in the world who thinks it’s going to be over soon. 

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your reaction?

DONALD TRUMP: I didn’t say over soon.  I say we’re learning to live with it.  We have no choice.  We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does.  He has the, he has the ability to lock himself up.  I don’t know.  He’s obviously made a lot of money someplace, but he has this thing about living in a basement.  People can’t do that.  By the way, I as the President couldn’t do that.  I’d love to put myself in the basement or in a beautiful room in the White House and go away for a year and a half until it disappears.  I can’t do that.  And, Kristen, every, every meeting I had, every meeting I had – and I meet a lot of families, including Gold Star families and military families.  Every meeting I had – and I had to meet them.  I had to.  It would be horrible to have cancelled everything.  I said, you know, this is dangerous, and you catch it, and you know, I caught it.  I learned a lot.  I learned a lot.  Great doctors, great hospitals, and now I recovered.  99.9 of young people recover.  99 percent of people recovery.  We have to recover.  We can’t close up our nation.  We have to open our schools, and we can’t close up our nation or you’re not going to have a nation.

KRISTEN WELKER: And of course the CDC has said young people can get sick with COVID 19 and can pass it.  Vice President Biden, I want to talk broadly about strategy though.  You have –

JOE BIDEN: Can I respond to that?

KRISTEN WELKER: 30 seconds please, and then I have a question.

JOE BIDEN: Number one, he says that we’re, uh, you know, we’re learning to live with it.  People are learning to die with it.  You folks at home will have an empty chair at the kitchen table this morning.  That man or wife going to bed tonight and reaching over to try to touch their, out of habit, where their wife or husband was, is gone.  Learning to live with it?  Come on.  We’re dying with it because he’s never said – you see, you said it’s dangerous.  When’s the last time?  Is it really dangerous still?  Are we dangerous?  You tell the people it’s dangerous now.  What should they do about the danger?  And you say, “I take no responsibility.”

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me talk about your –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly.

DONALD TRUMP: I take, I take full responsibility.  It’s not my fault that it came here.  It’s China’s fault.  And you know what?  It’s not Joe’s fault that it came here either.  It’s 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.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden.

JOE BIDEN: Fact is that when we knew it was coming, when it hit, what happened?  What did the President say?  He said don’t worry, it’s going to go away, be gone by Easter.  Don’t worry, the warm weather.  Don’t worry.  Maybe inject bleach.  He said he was kidding when he said that, but a lot of people thought it was serious.  A whole range of things the President has said.  Even today, he thinks we are in control.  We’re about to lose 200,000 more people.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: Look, perhaps just to finish this – I was kidding on that, but just to finish this, when I closed, he said I shouldn’t have closed.  And that went on for months.  What Nancy Pelosi said the same thing.  She was dancing on the streets in Chinatown in San Francisco, but when I closed, he said this is a terrible thing.  You’re xenophobic.  I think he called me racist even, and – because I was closing it to China.  Now he’s says I should have closed it earlier.  It just, Joe, it doesn’t work.

JOE BIDEN: I didn’t say either of those things.

DONALD TRUMP: You certainly did.

JOE BIDEN: [Inaudible]

DONALD TRUMP: You certainly did.

JOE BIDEN: I talked about his xenophobia in a different context.  It wasn’t about closing the border to Chinese coming to the United States.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  I want to talk about both of your different strategies to handling this.

DONALD TRUMP: He thought I shouldn’t have closed the border.

KRISTEN WELKER: Well let’s –

DONALD TRUMP: That’s obvious.

KRISTEN WELKER: Is that – do you want to respond to that quickly, Vice President Biden?

JOE BIDEN: No.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  Let’s talk about your different strategies toward dealing with this.  Mr. Vice President, you suggested you would support new shutdowns if scientists recommended it.  What do you say to Americans who are fearful that the cost of shutdowns, the impact on the economy, the higher rates of hunger, depression, domestic and substance abuse outweighs the risk of exposure to the virus?

JOE BIDEN: What I would say I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country.  It’s his ineptitude that caused the – that caused the country to have to shut down in large part.  Why businesses have gone under, why schools are closed, why so many people have lost their living and why they’re concerned.  Those other concerns are real.  That’s why he should have been instead of in a sand trap at his golf course, he should have been negotiating with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats and Republicans about what to do about the acts they were passing for billions of dollars to make sure people had the capacity –

KRISTEN WELKER: But you haven’t ruled out more shutdowns.

JOE BIDEN: Uh, well, no, I, I, I’m not shutting down the nation, but there are – look, they need standards.  The standard is if you have a reproduction rate in a community that’s above a certain level, everybody says slow up.  More social distancing, do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums.  Do not open until you get this under control.  Under more control.  But 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.  Schools, they need a lot of money to open.  They need to deal with ventilation systems.  They need to deal with smaller classes, more teachers, more pods, and he’s refused to support that money, or at least up to now.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s talk about schools.  President Trump –

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I, I, I think I have to respond, if I might.

KRISTEN WELKER: Please, and then I have a follow up.

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you, and I appreciate that.  Look, all he does is talk about shutdowns.  But forget about him.  His Democrat governors – Cuomo in New York, you look at what’s going on in California, you look at Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Democrats, Democrats all, they’re shut down so tight, and they’re dying.  They’re dying.  And he supports all these people.  All he talks about is shutdowns.  No, we’re not going to shut down, and we have to open our schools, and it’s like – as an example, I have a young son.  He also tested positive.  By the time I spoke to the doctor the second time, he was fine.  It just went away.  Young people, I guess it’s their immune system.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me follow up with you, President Trump.  You’ve demanded schools open in person and insist they can do it safely, but just yesterday, Boston became the latest city to move its public system entirely online after a coronavirus spike.  What is your message to parents who worry that sending their children to school will endanger not only their kids, but also their teachers and families?

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, I want to open the schools.  The transmittal rate to the teachers is, uh, very small, but I want to open the schools.  We have to open our country.  We’re not going to have a country.  You can’t do this.  We can’t keep this country closed.  This is a massive country with a massive economy.  People are losing their jobs.  They’re committing suicide.  There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.  There’s abuse, tremendous abuse.  We have to open our country.  You know, I’ve said it often.  The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President –

DONALD TRUMP: And that’s what’s happening, and he wants to close down, he’ll close down the country if one person in our, in our massive bureaucracy says we should close it down.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response.

JOE BIDEN: Simply not true.  We ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.  We ought to be able to safely open, but when they need resources to open, you need to be able to – for example, if you’re going to open a business, have social distancing within the business.  You need to have – if you have a restaurant, you need to have plexiglass dividers so people cannot infect one another.  You need to be in a position where you can take testing rapidly and know whether a person is, in fact, infected.  You need to be able to trace.  You need to be able to provide all the resources that are needed to do this, and that is not inconsistent with saying that what – we’re going to make sure that we open safely.  And by the way, all you teachers out there, not that many of you are going to die, so don’t worry about it.  So don’t worry about it.  Come on.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, let me follow up with you quickly.

DONALD TRUMP: By the way, I will say this.  If you go and look at what’s happened to New York, it’s a ghost town.  It’s a ghost town.  And when you talk about plexiglass, these are restaurants that are dying.  These are businesses with no money.  Putting up plexiglass is unbelievably expensive, and it’s not the answer.  I mean, you’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around with plastic?  It’s, these are businesses that are dying, Joe.  You can’t do that to people.  You just can’t.  Take a look at New York and what’s happened to my wonderful city for, for so many years I love that it was vibrant.  It’s dying.  Everyone’s leaving New York.

JOE BIDEN: Take a look –

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden.

JOE BIDEN: – at what New York has done in terms of turning the curve down in terms of the number of people dying.  And I don’t look at this in terms of the way he does, blue states and red states.  They’re all the United States.  And look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus.  They’re the red states.  They’re the states in the Midwest.  They’re the states in the upper Midwest.  That’s where the spike is occurring significantly.  But they’re all Americans.  They’re all Americans.  And what we have to do is say, wear these masks, number one.  Make sure we get the help that the businesses need that has – money’s already been passed to do that.  It’s been out there since the beginning of the summer and nothing’s happened.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, New York has lost more than 40,000 people.  11,000 people in nursing homes.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, what about –

DONALD TRUMP: When you say spike, take a look at what’s happening in Pennsylvania, where they’ve had it closed.  Take a look at what’s happening with your friend in Michigan, where her husband’s the only one allowed to do anything.  It’s been like a prison.  Now it was just ruled unconstitutional.  Take a look at North Carolina.  They’re having spikes, and they’ve been closed, and they’re getting killed financially.  We can’t let that happen, Joe.  You can’t let that happen.  We have to open up, and we understand the disease.  We have to protect our seniors.  We have to protect our elderly.  We have to protect, especially, our seniors with heart problems and diabetes problems, and we will protect them.  We have the best testing in the world by far.  That’s why we have so many cases.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me follow up with you before we move on to our next section, President Trump.  This week you called Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s best-known infectious disease expert quote, “a disaster.”  You described him and other medical experts as quote, “idiots.”  If you’re not listening to them, who are you listening to to fight this?

DONALD TRUMP: Let, let me, I’m listening to all of them, including Anthony.  I get along very well with Anthony, but he did say don’t wear masks.  He did say, as you know, this is not going to be a problem.  Uh, I think he’s a Democrat, but that’s okay.  He said this is not going to be a problem.  We are not going to have a problem at all.  When Joe says that I said, Anthony Fauci said, and others, and many others – and I’m not knocking him.  A lot, nobody knew.  Look, nobody knew what this thing was.  Nobody knew where it was coming from, what it was.  We’ve learned a lot.  But Anthony said don’t wear masks; now he wants to wear masks.  Anthony also said, if you look back, exact words.  Here’s his exact words.  This is no problem.  This is going to go away soon.  So, he’s allowed to make mistakes.  He happens to be a good person.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response quickly, and then we’re going to move on to the next section.

JOE BIDEN: My response is that 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 than, much worse than the flu.  He went on record and said to one of your colleagues, recorded, that in fact he 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.  He didn’t want us – Americans don’t panic.  He panicked.  But guess what?  In the meantime, we find out in the New York Times the other day that in fact his folks went to Wall Street and said this is a really dangerous thing, and a memo out of that meeting – not from his administration but from some of the brokers, said sell short, because we’ve got to get moving.  It’s a dangerous problem.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, this is one I –

KRISTEN WELKER: I’m going to give you 30 seconds to respond –

DONALD TRUMP: This is one I have [inaudible].

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then we’re going to move on.

DONALD TRUMP: Uh, the Wall Street one, I don’t know.  Somebody went to Wall Street.  You’re the one that takes all the money from Wall Street.  I don’t take it.

JOE BIDEN: I have –

DONALD TRUMP: You, you have raised a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money, and every time you raise money, deals are made, Joe.  I could raise so much more money.  As President and as somebody that knows most of those people, I could call the heads of Wall Street, the heads of every company in America.  I would blow away every record, but I don’t want to do that, because it puts me in a bad position.  And then you bring up Wall Street?  You shouldn’t be bringing up Wall Street, because you’re the one that takes the money from Wall Street, not me.

JOE BIDEN: My average –

DONALD TRUMP: I could, I could blow away your records that, 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 that she was able to bring in.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Gentlemen, we’re going to move on.

DONALD TRUMP: Don’t tell me about Wall Street.

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re going to –

JOE BIDEN: Average contribution $43.00.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  We’re going to move on to our next section which is national security, and I do want to start with the security of our elections and some breaking news from overnight.  Just last night, top intelligence officials confirmed again that both Russia and Iran are working to influence this election.  Both countries have obtained U.S. voter registration information, these officials say, and Iran sent intimidating messages to Florida voters.  This question goes to you, Mr. Vice President.  What would you do to put an end to this threat?  You have 2 minutes uninterrupted.

JOE BIDEN: I made it clear, and I asked everyone else to take the pledge.  I made it clear that any country, no matter who it is, that interferes in American elections will pay a price.  They will pay a price.  And it’s been overwhelmingly clear this election – I won’t even get into the last one – this election that Russia has been involved.  China has been involved to some degree, and now we learn that, that, uh, that, uh, Iran is involved.  They will pay a price if I’m elected.  They’re interfering with American sovereignty.  That’s what’s going on right now.  They’re interfering with American sovereignty.  And to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think the President has said anything to Putin about it.  I don’t think he’s talking to him a lot.  I don’t think he’s said a word.  I don’t know why he hasn’t said a word to Putin about it, and I don’t know what he has recently said, if anything, to the Iranians.  My guess is he’d probably be more outspoken with regard to the Iranians.  But the point is this, folks, we are in a situation where we have foreign company – countries trying to interfere in the outcome of our election.  His own, own National Security Advisor told him that what is happening with his buddy – well, I won’t get, I shouldn’t, well, I will – his buddy, Rudy Giuliani, he’s being used as a Russian pawn.  He’s being fed information that is Russian, uh, that is not true.  And then what happens?  Nothing happens.  And then you find out that everything that’s going on here about Russia is wanting to make sure that I do not get elected to the next President of the United States, because they know I know them, and they know me.  I don’t understand why this President is unwilling to take on Putin, when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, when he’s engaged in activities that are trying to destabilize all of NATO.  I don’t know why he doesn’t do it, but it’s worth asking the question.  Why isn’t that being done?  Any country that interferes with us will in fact pay a price, because they’re affecting our sovereignty.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, same question to you.

DONALD TRUMP: I have to respond.  Yes.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me, let me ask the question.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay.

KRISTEN WELKER: You’re going to have 2 minutes to respond.  For two elections in a row now, there has been substantial interference from foreign adversaries.  What would you do in your next term to put an end to this?  Two minutes uninterrupted.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, let me respond to the first part as Joe answered.  Joe got $3 ½ million from Russia, and it came through Putin, because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife.  And you got $3 ½ million.  Your family got $3 ½ million and, you know, someday you’re going to have to explain why did you get 3 ½.  I never got any money from Russia.  I don’t get money from Russia.  Now, about your thing last night, I knew all about that, and through John, who is, John Ratcliffe, who is fantastic – he and I, he said the one thing that’s common to both of them, they both want you to lose, because there has been nobody tougher to Russia with, between the sanctions – nobody tougher than me on Russia, between the sanctions, between all of what I’ve done with NATO.  You know, I got the NATO countries to put up an extra 130 billion going to $420 billion a year.  That’s to guard against Russia.  I sold, while he was selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank busters to Ukraine.  There has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.  And I’ll tell you, they were so bad, they took over the, the submarine port – you remember that very well – during your term.  During you and Barack Obama, they took over a big part of what should have been Ukraine.  You handed it to them.  But you were getting a lot of money from Russia.  They were paying you a lot of money, and they probably still are.  But now, with what came out today, it’s even worse.  All of the emails, the emails, the horrible emails of the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family.  And, Joe, you were Vice President when some of this was happening, and it should have never happened.  And I think you owe an explanation to the American people.  Why is it somebody just had 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.  Maybe you can do it right now.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, you may respond, 30 seconds, and then I do want to follow up on the election security.

JOE BIDEN: 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, has a secret bank account with China, does business in China, and in fact is talking about me taking money?  I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever, ever, number one.  Number two, this is a President – I have released all of my tax returns.  22 years.  Go and look at them, 22 years of my tax return.  You have not released a single solitary year of your tax return.  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 new a gal, uh, uh, a, a golf course you have overseas.  So what’s going on here?  Why – release your tax return or stop talking about corruption.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your response.

DONALD TRUMP: First of all, I called my accountants under audit.  I’m going to release them as soon as we can.  I want to do it, and it’ll show how successful, how great this company is.  But much more importantly than that, people were saying $750.00.  I asked them a week ago, I said, “What did I pay?”  They said, “Sir, you prepaid tens of millions of dollars.”  I prepaid my tax.  Tens, over the last number of years, tens of millions of dollars I prepaid, because at some point they think, it’s an estimate, they think I may have to pay tax.  So I already prepaid it.  Nobody told me that.  Nobody told you that.

KRISTEN WELKER: Did your accountant tell you when you can release them?

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me, and it wasn’t written, whenever they write this, they keep talking about $750.00, which I think is a filing fee.  But let me just tell you, I prepaid millions and millions of dollars in taxes, number one.  Number two, I don’t make money from China; you do.  I don’t make money from  Ukraine; you do.  I don’t make money from Russia.  You made $3 ½ million, Joe.  And your son gave you – they even have a statement that – we have to give 10 percent to the big man.  You’re the big man, I think.  I don’t know.  Maybe you’re not.  But you’re the big man, I think.  Your son said we have to give 10 percent to the big man.  Joe, what’s that all about?  It’s terrible.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, gentlemen.  I want to ask you both some questions about all of this, but –

JOE BIDEN: I have to respond to that.

KRISTEN WELKER: I’m going to let you both respond very quickly.  You just said you spoke to your accountant –

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

KRISTEN WELKER: – about potentially releasing your taxes.  Did he tell you when you can release them?  Do you have a deadline –

DONALD TRUMP: As soon as the audit is finished.

KRISTEN WELKER: – for when you are going to release them to the American people?

DONALD TRUMP: I get treated worse than the Tea Party got treated.

KRISTEN WELKER: But you don’t [inaudible] –

DONALD TRUMP: Because there’s a lot of people in there, deep down in the IRS, they treat me horribly.  We made a deal, it was all settled, until I decided to run for President.  I get treated very badly by the IRS, very unfairly.  But we had a deal all done.  As soon as we’re completed with the deal, I want to release it.  But I have paid millions and millions of dollars, and I’ve – it’s worse than paying.  I paid in advance.  It’s called prepaying your taxes.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: I paid it in.

KRISTEN WELKER: I want to ask you both about questions regarding your potential foreign entanglements and questions that have been raised –

JOE BIDEN: At some point, I’d like to respond.

KRISTEN WELKER: – to give you both a chance to talk about this more broadly.  Respond very quickly, and then I’ll get to my question.

JOE BIDEN: Why didn’t he, he’d been saying this for 4 years.  Show us.  Just show us.  Stop playing around.  You’ve been saying for 4 years, you’re going to release your taxes.  Nobody knows, Mr. President.  What they do know is you’re not paying your taxes or you’re paying taxes that are so low.  When last time he said what he’d paid, he said, “I only pay that little because I’m smart.  I know how to game the system.”  Come on.  Come on, folks.

KRISTEN WELKER: Thank you.  President Trump, and then I want to get to two questions to both of you on this.

JOE BIDEN: Sure.

DONALD TRUMP: I was put through a phony witch hunt for 3 years.  It started before I even got elected.  They spied on my campaign.  No president should ever have to go through what I went through.  Let me just say this.  Mueller and 18 angry Democrats and FBI agents all over the place spent $48 million.  They went through everything I had, including my tax returns, and they found absolutely no collusion and nothing wrong.  48 million.  I guarantee if I spent 1 million on you, Joe, I could find plenty wrong –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: – because the kind of things you’ve done and the kind of monies that your family has taken.  I mean, your brother made money in Iraq –

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me –

DONALD TRUMP: – millions of dollars.  Your other brother made a fortune, and it’s all through you, Joe, and they say you get some of it, and you do live very well.  You have houses all over the place.  You live very well.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, gentlemen, let me just ask some questions about all of this broadly.  Vice President Biden, there have been questions about the work your son has done in China and for a Ukrainian energy company when you were Vice President.  In retrospect, was anything about those relationships inappropriate or unethical?

JOE BIDEN: Nothing was unethical.  Here’s what the deal.  With regard to Ukraine, we had this whole question about whether or not, because he was on the Board, I later learned, of Burisma, a company, that somehow I had done something wrong.  Yet every single solitary person, when he was going through his impeachment, testifying under oath who worked for him, said I did my job impeccably.  I carried out U.S. policy.  Not one single solitary thing was out of line.  Not a single thing, number one.  Number two, the guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me, which they would not do and did not do, because it never, ever, ever happened.  My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, uh – what are you talking about?  China.  I have not had – the only guy who made money from China is this guy.  He’s the only one.  Nobody else has made money from China.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump –

DONALD TRUMP: Never did a deal with China, by the way –

KRISTEN WELKER: – let me, let me ask my question to you and then we’ll –

DONALD TRUMP: But could I just – one, one thing?

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly.

DONALD TRUMP: His son didn’t have a job for a long time.  Was sadly no longer in the military service.  I won’t get into that, and he didn’t have a job.  As soon as he became Vice President, Burisma, not the best, not the best reputation in the world.  I hear they paid him $183,000.00 a month.  Listen to this, 183, and they gave him a $3 million upfront payment –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: And he had no energy experience.

KRISTEN WELKER: I’m, I’m going to let the Vice President respond to that quickly –

DONALD TRUMP: That’s a hundred percent dishonest.

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then I need to get to a question to you.  Very quickly, Vice President.

JOE BIDEN: No basis for that.  Everybody investigated that.  No one said anything he did was wrong in Ukraine.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, President Trump, this is for you.  Since you took office, you’ve never divested from your business.  You’ve personally promoted your properties abroad.  A report this week, which was referenced, does indicate that your company has a bank account in China.  So how can voters know that you don’t have any foreign conflicts of interest?

DONALD TRUMP: I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed, and they’re all over the place.  I mean, I was a businessman doing business.  The bank account you’re referring to, which is, everybody knows about it.  It’s listed.  The bank account was in 2013.  That’s when it was.  It was opened in – it was closed in 2015, I believe, and then I decided, because I was going to do, I was thinking about doing a deal in China like millions of other people.  I was thinking about it, and I decided I’m not going to do it.  Didn’t like it.  I decided not to do it.  Had an account open, and I closed it.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.  And then, unlike him, where he’s Vice President, and he does business, I then decided to run for president after that.  That was before.  So I closed it before I even ran for President, let alone became President.  Big difference.  He is the Vice President of the United States and his son, his brother and his other brother are getting rich.  They’re like a vacuum cleaner.  They’re sucking the money every place he goes.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, President Trump, thank you.  We do need to move on.

JOE BIDEN: It’s not true.

KRISTEN WELKER: I do want to ask you, uh, Vice President Biden, about China.  Let’s talk about China more broadly.  There have, of course, President Trump has said that they should pay for not being fully transparent in regards to the coronavirus.  If you were president, would you make China pay, and please be specific.  What would that look like?

JOE BIDEN: What I’d make China do is play by the international rules.  Not like he has done.  He has caused the deficit of China to go up, not down with China.  Up, not down.  We are making sure that – in order to do business in China, you have to give all your intellectual property.  You have to get a, have a partner in China that’s 51 percent.  We would not do that at all, number one.  Number two, we’re in a situation where China would have to play by the rules internationally as well.  When I met with Xi at, and, uh, when I was still Vice President, he said we’re setting up air identification zones in the, in the South China Sea.  You can’t fly through them.  I said we’re going to fly through them.  We just flew B52, B1 bombers through it.  We’re not going to pay attention.  They have to play by the rules.  And what’s he do?  He embraces guys like the thugs like in North Korea and, and, uh, and the Chinese President and Putin and others, and he pokes his finger in the eye of all our friends, all of our allies.  We make up only, we’re 25 percent, 25 percent of the world’s economy.  We need to be having the rest of our friends with us saying to China, these are the rules.  You play by them or you’re going to pay the price for not playing by them economically.  That’s the way I will run it, and that’s what we did in upholding steel tax and a range of other things when we were President and Vice President.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, and let’s talk about North Korea.  Let, let’s –

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, no, excuse me.  No, I have to respond to that.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  Very quickly and then we’re going to move on to North Korea.

DONALD TRUMP: Your son walked out with a billion and a half dollars from China to manage –

JOE BIDEN: Not true.

DONALD TRUMP: – after spending 10 minutes in office and being in Air Force 2, number one.  Number two, there’s a very strong email talking about your family wanting to make $10 million a year for introductions.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, on China policy, though, what specifically –

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, but wait a minute.

KRISTEN WELKER: – are you going to do, what specifically are you going to do to make China pay?  You said you’re going to make them pay.

DONALD TRUMP: First of all, China is paying.  They’re paying billions and billions of dollars.

KRISTEN WELKER: In sanctions?

DONALD TRUMP: I just gave $28 billion –

KRISTEN WELKER: Sanctions?

DONALD TRUMP: I just gave $28 billion to our farmers, because China –

JOE BIDEN: Taxpayer’s money.

DONALD TRUMP: It’s what?

JOE BIDEN: Taxpayer’s money.  It didn’t come from China.

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, yeah, you know who the taxpayer is?  It’s called China.  China paid –

JOE BIDEN: Not true.

DONALD TRUMP: – 28 billion, and you know what they did to pay it, Joe?  They devalued their currency and they also paid up, and you know who got the money?  Our farmers.  Our great farmers, because they were targeted.  You never charged them anything.  Also, I charged them 25 percent on dumped steel.  Because they were killing our steel – we were not going to have a steel industry –

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: – and now we have a steel industry.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, Vice President Biden, your response, please.

JOE BIDEN: My response is look, this isn’t about – there’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarkey.  There’s a reason for it.  He didn’t want to talk about the, the substantive issues.  It’s not about his family and my family.  It’s about your family, and your family’s hurting badly.  If you’re making less than, if you’re a middle-class family, you’re getting hurt badly right now.  You’re sitting at the kitchen table this morning deciding, well we can’t get new tires.  They’re bald, because we have to wait another month or so, or are we going to be able to pay the mortgage, or who’s going to tell her she can’t go back to, to community college.  They’re the decisions you’re making in the middle-class families like I grew up in Scranton and Claymont.  They’re in trouble.  We should be talking about your families, but that’s the last thing he wants to talk about.

KRISTEN WELKER: I want to –

DONALD TRUMP: That is a typical statement –

KRISTEN WELKER: I want to talk about North Korea –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.  Just for 1 second, please.

KRISTEN WELKER: I do want to turn to – 10 seconds, Mr. President, 10 seconds.

DONALD TRUMP: That’s a typical political statement.  Let’s get off this China thing and then he looks, the family, around the table, everything –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: Just a typical politician when I see that.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s talk about North Korea.  Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: I’m not a typical politician.  That’s why I got elected.  That was –

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s talk about –

DONALD TRUMP: – let’s get off the subject of China.  Let’s talk around sitting around the table.  Come on, Joe, you can do better than that.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, we’re going to talk about North Korea now.  President Trump, you’ve met with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, three times.  You’ve talked about your beautiful letters with him.  You’ve touted the fact that there hasn’t been a war or a long-range missile test, and yet, North Korea recently rolled out its biggest ever intercontinental ballistic missile and continues to develop its nuclear arsenal.  Do you see that as a betrayal of the relationship you forged?

DONALD TRUMP: No.

KRISTEN WELKER: Just 30 seconds here, because we need to get onto the next one.

DONALD TRUMP: So, when I met with Barack Obama, we sat in the White House, right at the beginning, had a great conversation.  It was supposed to be 15 minutes, and it was well over an hour.  He said the biggest problem we have with North, is North Korea.  He indicated we will be in a war with North Korea.  Guess what?  It would be a nuclear war, and he does have plenty of nuclear capability.  In the meantime, I have a very good relationship with him.  Different kind of a guy, but he probably thinks the same thing about me.  We have a different kind of a relationship.  We have a very good relationship, and there’s no war, and you know, about 2 months ago, he broke into a certain area.  They said, oh, there’s going to be trouble.  I said, no, there’s not, because he’s not going to do that, and I was right.  Look, instead of being in a war where millions of people – Seoul, you know, is 25 miles away.  Millions and millions, 32 million people in Seoul.  Millions of people would be dead right now –

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, President Trump, that’s 30 seconds.  Thank you.

DONALD TRUMP: We don’t have a war, and I have a good relationship.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, to you, North Korea conducted four nuclear tests under the Obama Administration.  Why do you think you would be able to rein in this persistent threat?

JOE BIDEN: Because I’d make it clear, which we were making clear to China, they had to be part of the deal because here’s the – I made it clear, uh, as a spokesperson of the administration when I went to China, and they said why are you moving your missile defense up so close?  Why are you moving more forces here?  Why are you continue to do, uh, um, military maneuvers with South Korea?  I said because North Korea is a problem, and we’re going to continue to do it, so we can control them.  We’re going to make sure we can control them and make sure they cannot hurt us.  And so if you want to do something about it, step up and help.  If not, it’s going to continue.  What has he done?  He’s legitimized North Korea.  He’s talked about his good buddy, who’s a thug, a thug, and he talks about how we’re better off, and they are, have much more capable missiles, able to reach U.S. territory much more easily than they ever did before.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me follow up with you, Vice President Biden.  You’ve said you wouldn’t meet with Kim Jong-un without preconditions.  Are there any conditions under which you would meet with him?

JOE BIDEN: On the condition that he would agree that he would be, uh, drawing down his nuclear capacity to get the – the Korean Peninsula should be a nuclear-free zone.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Let’s move on to American families.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, they tried to meet with him.

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly, 10 seconds, Mr. President.

DONALD TRUMP: They tried to meet with him.  He wouldn’t do it.  He didn’t like Obama.  He didn’t like him.  He wouldn’t do it.  I know for a fact they tried.  He wouldn’t do it.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  I got to give him a chance to respond to that before we move on.

JOE BIDEN: You know, I –

DONALD TRUMP: And that’s okay.  You know what?  North Korea, we’re not in a war.  We have a good relationship.  You know, people always say – having a good relationship with leaders of other country is a good thing.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, we have to move on, because we have a lot of, we have a lot of questions to get to.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.  Not a bad thing.

KRISTEN WELKER: Your response.

JOE BIDEN: That’s like saying we had a good relationship with Hitler before he in fact invaded Europe, the rest of Europe.  Come on.  The reason he would not meet with President Obama is because President Obama said we’re going to talk about denuclearization.  We’re not going to legitimize you.  We’re going to continue to push stronger and stronger sanctions on you.  That’s why he wouldn’t meet with us.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Let’s move on.

DONALD TRUMP: And it didn’t happen.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s move on –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

KRISTEN WELKER: – and talk about American families.

DONALD TRUMP: He left me a mess, Kristen.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, okay, we do need to move on.

DONALD TRUMP: They left me a mess.  North Korea was a mess.

KRISTEN WELKER: We need to move on, so that we can get to all the other –

DONALD TRUMP: And in fact, if you remember the first 2 or 3 months –

KRISTEN WELKER: – questions tonight, President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: There was a very dangerous period in my first 3 months before we sort of worked things out a little bit.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: It was a very – they left us a mess, and Obama would be, I think, the first to say it was the single biggest problem he thought that our country faced.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  Let’s move on to American families and the economy.  Uh, one of the issues that’s most important to them is healthcare, as you both know.  Today, there was a key vote on a new Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett, and healthcare is at the center of her confirmation fight.  Over 20 million Americans get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  It’s headed to the Supreme Court, and your administration, Mr. President, is advocating for the Court to overturn it.  If the Supreme Court does overturn that law, those 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance almost overnight.  So what would you do if those people have their health insurance taken away?  You have 2 minutes uninterrupted.

DONALD TRUMP: Sure.  First of all, I’ve already done something that nobody thought was possible.  Through the legislature, I terminated the individual mandate.  That is the worst part of Obamacare, as we call it.  The individual mandate, where you have to pay a fortune for the privilege of not having to pay for bad health insurance.  I terminated it.  It’s gone.  Now it’s in court because Obamacare is no good.  But then I made a decision, run it as well as you can, to my people, great people, run it as well as you can.  I could have gone the other route and made everybody very unhappy.  They ran it.  Uh, premiums are down, everything’s down.  Here’s the problem.  No matter how well you run it, it’s no good.  What we’d like to do is terminate it.  We have the individual mandate done.  I don’t know that it’s going to work.  If we don’t win, we will have to run it, and we’ll have Obamacare, but it’ll be better run, but it no longer is Obamacare, because without the individual mandate, it’s much different.  Pre-existing conditions will always stay.  What I would like to do is a much better healthcare, much better, will always protect people with pre-existing.  So I’d like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand-new, beautiful healthcare.  The Democrats will do it, because there’ll be tremendous pressure on them, and we might even have the House by that time, and I think we’re going to win the House.  Okay?  You’ll see, but I think we’re going to win the House, but come up with a better healthcare, always protecting people with pre-existing conditions.  And one thing, very important, we have 180 million people out there that have great private healthcare.  Far more than we’re talking about with Obamacare.  Joe Biden is going to terminate all of those policies.  These are people that love their healthcare.  People that have been successful, middle income people, been successful.  They have 180 million plans, 180 million people, families.  Under what he wants to do, which will basically be socialized medicine, he won’t even have a choice, they want to terminate 180 million plans.  We have done an incredible job on healthcare, and we’re going to do even better [inaudible].

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

JOE BIDEN: Let me respond.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, yes, this is for you.  Your healthcare plan calls for building on Obamacare.  So my question is what is your plan if the law is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court?  You have 2 minutes uninterrupted.

JOE BIDEN: What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option, to become Bidencare.  The public option is an option that says that if you in fact do not have the wherewithal to be, if you qualify for Medicaid, and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you automatically are enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies.  That’s what’s going to happen.  Secondly, we’re going to make sure we reduce the premiums and reduce drug prices by making sure that the competition, that doesn’t exist now, by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the insurance companies.  Thirdly, the idea that I want to eliminate private insurance – the reason why I had such a fight for, with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance.  That’s why I did – not one single person on private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare.  They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.  Lastly, we’re going to make sure we’re in a situation that we actually protect pre-existing – there’s no way he can protect pre-existing conditions.  None, zero.  You can’t do it in the ether.  He’s been talking about this for a long time.  There is no, he’s never come up with a plan.  I guess we’re going to get the pre-existing condition plan the same time we get the infrastructure plan that we, we waited since ’17, ’18, ’19 and ’20.  The fact – I still have a few more minutes.  I know you’re getting anxious.  The, uh, the fact is that there, he’s already cost the American people, because of his terrible handling of the COVID virus and economic spillover.  Ten million people have lost their private insurance, and he wants to take away 22 million more people who have it under Obamacare and over 110 million people with pre-existing conditions, and all the people from COVID are going to have pre-existing conditions.  What are they going to do?

KRISTEN WELKER: I have a follow up for you, Vice President Biden.

JOE BIDEN: Sure.

KRISTEN WELKER: It relates to something that President Trump said.  He’s accusing you of wanting socialized medicine.  What do you say to people who have concerns that your healthcare plan, which includes a government insurance option, takes the country one step closer to a healthcare system run entirely by the government?  What’s your response to that?

JOE BIDEN: I say it’s ridiculous.  It’s like saying that, you know, we’re, uh, the idea that, the fact that there’s a public option, that people can choose, that makes it a socialist plan?  Look, the difference between the President – I think healthcare is not a privilege.  It’s a right.  Everyone should have the right to have affordable healthcare, and I am very proud of my plan.  It’s gotten endorsed by all the major labor unions, as well as, as well as a whole range of other people who in fact are concerned in the medical field.  This is something that’s going to save people’s lives, and this is going to give some people an opportunity, an opportunity to have healthcare for their children.  How many of you at home are worried and rolling around in bed tonight, wondering what in God’s name you going to do if you get sick, because you’ve lost your home, your, your, your health insurance your company’s gone under.  We have to provide health insurance for people at an affordable rate.  That’s what I’d do.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.  He was there –

KRISTEN WELKER: – your response?

DONALD TRUMP: – for 47 years.  He didn’t do it.  He was now there as Vice President for 8 years, and it’s not like it was 25 years ago.  It was 3 ¾, it was just a little while ago, right?  Less than 4 years ago.  He didn’t do anything.  He didn’t do it.  He wants socialized medicine, and it’s not that he wants it.  His Vice President, I mean, she is, is more liberal than Bernie Sanders and wants it even more.  Bernie Sanders wants it.  The Democrats want it.  You’re going to have socialized medicine.  Just like he went with fracking.  “We’re not going to have fracking.  We’re going to stop fracking.  We’re going to stop fracking.”  Then he goes to Pennsylvania after he gets the nomination, where he got very lucky to get it, and he goes to Pennsylvania, and he says, “Oh, we’re going to have fracking,” and you never ask that question.  And by the way, so far, I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say.

JOE BIDEN: By the way –

DONALD TRUMP: But somebody should ask the question.

JOE BIDEN: You can ask –

DONALD TRUMP: He, he goes for a year, there will be no fracking, there will be no petroleum –

KRISTEN WELKER: We have a, we have, we do have a number of, we have a number of topics we’re going to get to.

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, but that’s a big, that’s a big question.

KRISTEN WELKER: We, and we’re going to get to, we’re going to get to a number of topics.

DONALD TRUMP: It’s the same thing with socialized medicine.

JOE BIDEN: I have to respond –

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President, your response, please.

JOE BIDEN: My response is people deserve to have affordable healthcare, period, period, period, period.  And the Bidencare proposal will in fact provide for that affordable healthcare, lower premiums.  What we’re going to do is going to cost some money.  It’s going to cost over $750 billion over 10 years to do it, and they’re going to be at lower premiums.  You can buy into the better plans, the cheaper plans, lower your premiums, deal with unexpected billing and have your drug prices drop significantly.  He keeps talking about it.  He hasn’t done a thing for anybody on healthcare, not a thing.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, when he says – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly, then I want to talk about what’s happening on Capitol Hill. 

DONALD TRUMP: – when he says public option, he’s talking about socialized medicine.  And when he, and, and healthcare.  When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare, totally destroy it – 

JOE BIDEN: Wrong. 

DONALD TRUMP: – and destroying your Social Security, and this whole country will come down.  You know, Bernie Sanders tried it – 

JOE BIDEN: Bernie –

DONALD TRUMP: – in his state.  He tried it in his state.  His governor was a very liberal governor.  They wanted to make it work. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, – 

DONALD TRUMP: It, it was – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – let’s hear, let’s let Vice President Biden respond. 

DONALD TRUMP: – impossible to work.  It doesn’t work. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response. 

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.  Joe Biden he’s running against, and the idea that we’re in a situation that is going to destroy Medicare – this is the guy that the actuary of Medicare said if, in fact – and Social Security – if, in fact, he continues to withhold, his plan to withhold the tax on Social Security, Social Security will be bankrupt in, by 2023, with no way to make up for it.  This is the guy who has tried to cut Medicare, so I don’t, I mean, the idea that Donald Trump is lecturing me on Social Security and Medicare?  Come on. 

DONALD TRUMP: He tried to get rid of – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Ten seconds, Mr. President, – 

DONALD TRUMP: He tried to hurt – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then I have to go – 

DONALD TRUMP: – Social Security – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – to another question. 

DONALD TRUMP: – years ago.  Years ago.  Go back and look at the records.  He tried to hurt Social Security years ago. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, let’s move on. 

DONALD TRUMP: One thing – but this is the guy – 

KRISTEN WELKER: I’m going to move on. 

DONALD TRUMP: – that, when they announced – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me – Mr. President – 

DONALD TRUMP: – last week – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – I have to move on to the next question or else – 

DONALD TRUMP: – they said the stock market – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – we’re not going to have time to talk about it.

DONALD TRUMP: – will boom if I’m elected.  If he’s elected, the stock market will crash. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, let’s move on to the next question. 

JOE BIDEN: By the way –

DONALD TRUMP: The biggest analysists are saying that. 

JOE BIDEN: [Inaudible]

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly. 

JOE BIDEN: Look, the idea that the stock market is booming is his only measure of what’s happening.  Where I come from, in Scranton and Claymont, the people don’t live off of the stock market.  Just in the, uh, just in the last 3, 3 years, during this crisis, the billionaires in this country made, according to Wall Street, 700 billion more dollars, 700 billion more dollars.  Because that’s his only measure.  What happens to the ordinary people out there?  What happens to them? 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s talk about what’s – 

DONALD TRUMP: 401k’s –

KRISTEN WELKER: – happening on Capitol Hill.  We’re going to move on.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, 401k’s are through the roof.

KRISTEN WELKER: Gentlemen, we’re going to move on. 

DONALD TRUMP: People’s stock are through the roof. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right. 

DONALD TRUMP: And he doesn’t come from Scranton.  That’s, like, one of – he lived there for a short period of time – 

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re going to – 

DONALD TRUMP: – before he even knew it, and he left. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  We’re going to move on to the next question. 

DONALD TRUMP: And the people of Pennsylvania – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me move on – 

DONALD TRUMP: – will show you that. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – to my next question, gentlemen. 

DONALD TRUMP: They understand. 

KRISTEN WELKER: As of tonight, more than 12 million people are out of work, and, as of tonight, 8 million more Americans have fallen into poverty and more families are going hungry every day.  Those hit hardest are women and people of color.  They see Washington fighting over a relief bill.  Mr. President, why haven’t you been able to get them the help they need?  Thirty seconds here. 

DONALD TRUMP: Because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it.  I do. 

KRISTEN WELKER: But you’re the President. 

DONALD TRUMP: I do, but I still have to get, unfortunate, that’s one of the reasons I think we’re going to take over the House because of her.  Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve anything, because she’d love to have some victories on a date called November 3rd.  Nancy Pelosi does not want to approve it.  We are ready, willing and able to do something.  Don’t forget, we’ve already approved three plans, and it’s gone through including the Democrats in all fairness.  This one she doesn’t want.  It’s near the election, because she thinks it helps her politically.  I think it hurts her politically. 

JOE BIDEN: By the way – 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, Mr. Vice President, – 

JOE BIDEN: – [inaudible] the Republican leader in our, in, in the United States Senate said he can’t pass it.  He will not be able to pass it.  He does not have Republican votes.  Why isn’t he talking to his Republican friends? 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me follow up with you, Vice President Biden. 

DONALD TRUMP: If we made a deal –

KRISTEN WELKER: Because – let me, let me –

DONALD TRUMP: – the Republicans would pass it. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – ask Vice President Biden a question.  You are the leader of the Democratic party.  Why have you not pushed the Democrats to get a deal for the American people? 

JOE BIDEN: Well, I have, and they have pushed it.  Look, they passed this act all the way back in the beginning of the summer.  This is, like, it’s not new.  It’s been out there.  This HEROES Act has been sitting there, and look at what’s happening.  When I was in charge of the Recovery Act, with $800 billion, I was able to get $145 billion to local communities that had to balance their budgets and states that have to balance their budgets, so they didn’t have to fire, they’d have to fire firefighters, teachers, first responders, law enforcement officers, so they could keep their cities and counties running.  He will not support that.  They have not done a thing for them, and Mr. McConnell said let them go bankrupt.  Let them go bankrupt.  Come on, what’s the matter with these guys? 

DONALD TRUMP: The bill that was passed in the House was a bailout of badly run, high crime, Democrat, all run by Democrat cities and states.  It was a way of getting a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars to these guys.  It was also a way of getting a lot of money from our people’s pockets to people that come into our country illegally.  We were going to take care of everything for them, and what that does – and I’d love to do that, I’d love to help them, but what that does – everybody all over the world will start pouring into our country.  We can’t do it.  This was a way of taking care of them.  This was a way of spending on things that had nothing to do with COVID, as for your question, but it was really a big bailout for badly run Democrat cities and states. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, I want to – 

JOE BIDEN: By the way, if I get elected, I’m not going to – I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to be an American President.  I don’t see red states and blue states.  What I see is American, United States, and folks, every single state out there finds themself in trouble.  They’re going to start laying off, whether they’re red or blue, cops, firefighters, first responders, teachers, because they have to balance their budget.  And the founders were smart.  They allowed the federal government to deficit spend to compensate for the United States of America. 

KRISTEN WELKER: I want to talk about the minimum wage, gentlemen.  Mr. Vice President, we are talking a lot about struggling small businesses – 

JOE BIDEN: Yes.   

KRISTEN WELKER: – and business owners these days.  Do you think this is the right time to ask them to raise the minimum wage?  You, of course, support a $15.00 federal minimum wage. 

JOE BIDEN: I do, because I think one of the things we’re going to have to do is, we’re going to have to bail them out too.  We should be bailing them out now, those small businesses.  You got 1 in 6 of them going under.  They’re not going to be able to make it back.  They passed a package that allows us to be able – they call it PPP, it’s money supposed to go to help them do everything from organize how they can deal with their businesses being open safely, schools, how they can make classrooms smaller, how they can hire more teachers, how they can put ventilation systems in.  They need the help.  The businesses as well as the schools need the help, but this, these guys will not help them.  It’s not giving them any of the money. 

KRISTEN WELKER: We are going to move on to immigration. 

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me, one thing very quickly.

KRISTEN WELKER: But I want to get your reaction – 

DONALD TRUMP: He said we have to help our small businesses by raising the minimum wage?  That’s not helping.  I think it should be a state option.  Alabama is different than New York.  New York is different from Vermont.  Every state is different.  It should be a state option. 

KRISTEN WELKER: You said very recently – 

DONALD TRUMP: We have to help – it’s very important.  We have to help our small businesses. 

KRISTEN WELKER: You said, – 

DONALD TRUMP: How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages?  What’s going to happen, and what’s been proven to happen, is when you do that, these small businesses fire many of their employees. 

KRISTEN WELKER: You said very recently – 

JOE BIDEN: Not true, by the way. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – you would consider raising the federal minimum wage – 

DONALD TRUMP: Say it. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – to $15.00 an hour. 

DONALD TRUMP: Say it. 

KRISTEN WELKER: You said recently you would consider raising the federal minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. 

DONALD TRUMP: I – what I really like, – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Is that still the case? 

DONALD TRUMP: – and I would consider it in, to an extent, but what I really like – 

KRISTEN WELKER: In a second administration?

DONALD TRUMP: What I – in a second administration, but not to a level that’s going to put all these businesses out of business.  It should be a state option.  Look – 

JOE BIDEN: Every – 

DONALD TRUMP: – I’ve lived in different places.  I know different places.  They’re all different.  Some places, $15.00 is not so bad.  In other places, other states, $15.00 would be ruinous. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, President Trump, thank you. 

JOE BIDEN: No – 

KRISTEN WELKER: Quick response – 

JOE BIDEN: No one should work – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – Vice President Biden. 

JOE BIDEN: – two jobs, one job, be below poverty.  People are making 6, 7, 8 bucks an hour.  These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street, because they’ve allowed us to make it.  What’s happening?  They deserve a minimum wage of $15.00.  Anything below that puts you below the poverty level, and there is no evidence that, when you raise the minimum wage, businesses go out of business.  That is simply not true. 

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re going to talk – 

JOE BIDEN: It’s an old saw. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – about immigration.  We’re going to talk about immigration now, gentlemen, and we’re going to talk about families within this context.  Mr. President, your administration separated children from their parents at the border, at least 4,000 kids.  You’ve since reversed your zero-tolerance policy, but the United States can’t locate the parents of more than 500 children.  So how will these families ever be reunited? 

DONALD TRUMP: Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they’re brought here, and they used to use them to get into our country.  We now have as strong a border as we’ve ever had.  We’re over 400 miles of brand-new wall.  You see the numbers – and we let people in, but they have to come in legally, and they come in through –   

KRISTEN WELKER: But how will you reunite – 

DONALD TRUMP: But let me just tell you – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – these kids with their families, Mr. President? 

DONALD TRUMP: – let me just tell you.  They built cages.  You know, they used to say I built the cages, and then they had a picture in a certain newspaper, and it was a picture of these horrible cages.  And they said look at these cages.  President Trump built them, and then it was determined they were built in 2014.  That was him. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Do you have a plan – 

DONALD TRUMP: They built cages. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – to reunite the kids – 

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, we’re – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – with their families? 

DONALD TRUMP: – working on it very, we’re, we’re trying very hard.  But a lot of these kids come out without the parents.  They come over through cartels and through coyotes and through gangs. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, let me bring you into this – 

JOE BIDEN: 525 – 

KRISTEN WELKER: – conversation.  Quick response, and then another question to you. 

JOE BIDEN: These 500-plus kids came with parents.  They separated them at the border, to make it a disincentive to come to begin with.  Big, real tough, we’re really strong, and guess what?  They cannot – it’s not, coyotes didn’t bring them over.  Their parents were with them.  They got separated from their parents, and it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask you a follow-up question. 

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, they did it.  We changed the policy. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Your response to that? 

DONALD TRUMP: They did it.  We changed it.

JOE BIDEN: We did not separate the – 

DONALD TRUMP: They built the cages.  Who, who built the cages, Joe? 

JOE BIDEN: Let’s, let’s talk about what we’re talking about. 

DONALD TRUMP: Who built the cages, Joe? 

JOE BIDEN: Let’s talk about what we’re talking about.  What happened?  Parents were ripped, their kids were ripped from their arms and separated, and now they cannot find over 500 of sets of those parents, and those kids are alone.  Nowhere to go, nowhere to go.  It’s criminal, it’s criminal. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask you about immigration.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, I will say this.  We went down –

KRISTEN WELKER: Ten seconds, and then I need to ask a question.

DONALD TRUMP: We brought reporters, everything.  They are so well taken care of.  They’re in facilities that were so clean.

KRISTEN WELKER: But some of them haven’t been reunited –

DONALD TRUMP: Have gotten such good –

KRISTEN WELKER: – with their families.

DONALD TRUMP: But just answer one question.  Who built the cages?  I’d love you to ask him that.  Who built the cages?

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask about your immigration policy, Mr. Vice President.  The Obama administration did fail to deliver immigration reform, which had been a key promise during the administration.  It also presided over record deportations as well as family detentions at the border before changing course.  So why should voters trust you with an immigration overhaul now?

JOE BIDEN: Because it made a mistake.  It made, it took too long to get it right, took too long to get it right.  I’ll be President of the United States, not Vice President of the United States, and the fact is, and I’ve made it very clear, within 100 days, I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people.  And all of those so-called Dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship.  The idea that they are being sent home by this guy, and they want to do that, is they go into a country they’ve never seen before.  I can imagine, you’re 5 years old, your parents are taking you across the Rio Grande river and it’s, and it’s, and it’s illegal, and you say, “Oh no, mom, leave me here, I’m not going to go with you.”  They’ve been here.  Many of them are model citizens.  Over 20,000 of them are first responders out there taking care of people during this crisis.  We owe them.  We owe them.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your thoughts.

DONALD TRUMP: Kristen, he had 8 years to do what he said he was going to do, and I’ve changed –

JOE BIDEN: We did.

DONALD TRUMP: Without having a specific – we got rid of catch and release, we got rid of a lot of horrible things that they put in and that they lived with, but he had 8 years he was Vice President.  He did nothing except build cages to keep children in.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response.

JOE BIDEN: The catch and release, you know what he’s talking about there?  If in fact you had a family came across and they were arrested, they in fact were given a date to show up for their hearing.  They were released, and guess what?  They showed up for a hearing.  And this is the first President in the history of the United States of America that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country.  That’s never happened before in America.  That’s never happened before in America.  You come to the United States and you make your case, that I seek asylum based on the following, on the following premise, why I deserve it under American law.  They’re sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your response.

DONALD TRUMP: So important.

KRISTEN WELKER: 30 seconds and then we’ll move on.

DONALD TRUMP: It just shows that he has no understanding of immigration or the laws.  Catch and release is a disaster.  A murderer would come in, a rapist would come in, a very bad person would come in.  We would take their name.  We have to release them into our country, and then you say they come back.  Less than 1 percent of the people come back.  We have to send –

JOE BIDEN: Not true.

DONALD TRUMP: – ICE out and Border Patrol out to find them.  We would say come back in 2 years, 3 years.  We’re going to give you a court case, you need Perry Mason.  We’re going to give you a court case.  When you say they come back, they don’t come back, Joe.

JOE BIDEN: They do.

DONALD TRUMP: They never come back.  Only the really, I hate to say this, but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay, President Trump –

DONALD TRUMP: But there’s very, very few.

KRISTEN WELKER: – let’s give Vice President Biden a chance to respond, and then we’re going to move on to the next section.

DONALD TRUMP: You don’t know the law, Joe.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response.

JOE BIDEN: I know the law.  What he’s telling you is simply not true.  Check it out.

DONALD TRUMP: Go check it out.  They don’t come back.

JOE BIDEN: Check it out.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, let’s move on to the next section.

DONALD TRUMP: But we don’t have to worry about it, because I terminated it, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let’s move on to the next section.

JOE BIDEN: And you have 525 kids not knowing where in God’s name they’re going to be and lost their parents.

DONALD TRUMP: Go ahead.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Let’s talk about our next section, which is race in America, and I want to talk about the way black and brown Americans experience race in this country.  Part of that experience is something called “the talk”.  It happens regardless of class and income, parents who feel they have no choice but to prepare their children for the chance that they could be targeted, including by the police, for no reason other than the color of their skin.  Mr. Vice President, in the next 2 minutes, I want you to speak directly to these families.  Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?

JOE BIDEN: I do, I do.  You know, my daughter is a social worker, and, uh, she’s, she’s written a lot about this.  She has her graduate degree from University of Pennsylvania in social work.  And you know, uh, one of the reasons why I ended up working on the east side of Wilmington, Delaware, which is 90 percent African American, was to learn more about what was going on.  What I didn’t, I never had to tell my daughter if she’s pulled over make sure she puts – for a traffic stop, put both hands on top of the wheel and don’t reach for the glove box, because someone may shoot you.  But a Black parent, no matter how wealthy or how poor they are, has to teach their child, when you’re walking down the street, don’t have a hoodie on when you go across the street.  Making sure that you, in fact, if you get pulled over, just yes sir, no sir, hands on top of the wheel, because you are in fact a victim, whether you’re a person making 300, a child of a $300,000.00 a year person or someone who’s on, on, on food stamps.  The fact of the matter is there is institutional racism in America, and we have always said – we’ve never lived up to it – that we hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women are created equal.  Well, guess what?  We have never, ever lived up to it, and we’ve constantly been moving the needle further and further to inclusion, not exclusion.  This is the first President to come along that says that’s the end of that.  We’re not going to do that anymore.  We have to provide for economic opportunity, better education, better healthcare, better access to schooling, better access to opportunity to borrow money to start businesses, all the things we can do, and I’ve laid out a clear plan as to how to do those things just to give people a shot.  It’s about accumulating the ability to have wealth as well as it is to be free from violence.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, same question to you, and let me remind you of the question.  I would like you to speak directly to these families.  Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes I do, and again, he’s been in government 47 years.  He never did a thing, except in 1994, when he did such harm to the Black community, and they were called, and he called them super predators.  And he said that, he said it.  Super predators, and they can never live that down.  1994, your crime bill, the super predators.  Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump, and if you look – with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln – nobody has done what I’ve done.  Criminal justice reform, Obama and Joe didn’t do it.  I don’t even think they tried, because they had no chance of doing it.  They might have wanted to do it, but if you had to see the arms I had to twist to get that done, it was not a pretty picture, and everybody knows it, including some very liberal people that cried in my office, they cried in the oval office.  Two weeks later, they’re out saying gee, we have to defeat him.  Criminal justice reform, prison reform, opportunity zones with Tim Scott, a great senator from South Carolina.  He came in with this incredible idea for opportunity zones.  It’s one of the most successful programs.  People don’t talk about it.  Tremendous investment is being made.  Biggest beneficiary, the Black and Hispanic communities and then historically Black colleges and universities.  After 3 years of coming to the office, I love some of those guys.  They were great, they came into the office and they said – I said, “what are you doing?”  After 3 years, I said, “why do you keep coming back?”  Because we have no funding.  I said you don’t have to come back every year.  We have to come back, because President Obama would never give them long-term funding, and I did.  Ten-year long-term funding, and I gave them more money than they asked for, because I said I think you need more, and I said the only bad part about this is I may never see you again, because I got very friendly with them, and they like me and I like them.  But I saved historically Black colleges and universities.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  And we’re going to talk about both of your records, but your response to that, Vice President.

JOE BIDEN: My response to that is I never, ever said what he accused me of saying.  The fact of the matter is, in 2000 though, after the crime bill had been in, in, in, in the law for a while, this is the guy who said the problem with the crime bill, there’s not enough people in jail, there’s not enough people in jail.  And go on my website, get the quote, the date, when he said it, not enough people.  He talked about marauding gangs, young gangs and the people who are going to maraud our cities.  This is the guy who in the Central Park Five, five innocent Black kids, he continued to push for making sure that they got the death penalty.  None of them were, none of them were guilty of what the crime, of the crimes they were suggested.  Look, and talk about – granted, he did in fact let 20 people, he commuted 20 people’s sentences.  We commuted over 1,000 people’s sentences.  Over 1,000.  The very law he’s talking about is the law that, in fact, initiated by Barack Obama.  And secondly, we’re in a situation here where we – the federal prison system was reduced by 38,000 people under our administration, and one of these things we should be doing, there should be no, no minimum mandatories in the law.  That’s why I’m offering $20 billion to states to change their state laws to eliminate minimum mandatories and set up drug courts.  No one should be going to jail because they have a drug problem.  They should be going to rehabilitation, not to jail.  We should fundamentally change the system, and that’s what I’m going to do.

DONALD TRUMP: But why didn’t he do it 4 years ago?  Why didn’t you do that 4 years ago?  Even less than that.  Why didn’t you do it –

JOE BIDEN: I am not –

DONALD TRUMP: – when you were Vice President?  You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do, and you’re going to do this, but you were there just a short time ago, and you guys did nothing. 

JOE BIDEN: We did –

DONALD TRUMP: You know?  Joe, I, I ran because of you.  I ran because of Barack Obama.  Because you did a poor job.  If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run.  I would have never run.  I ran because of you.  I’m looking at you now.  You’re a politician.  I ran because of you. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, Vice President Biden, your response to that?  And then, I do have some –

JOE BIDEN: Yeah. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – questions for both of you. 

JOE BIDEN: Well, I tell you what, I, uh, I hope he does look at me, because what’s happening here is you know who I am, you know who he is, you know his character, you know my character, you know our reputations for honor and telling the truth.  I am anxious to have this race.  I am anxious to see this take place.  I am, the character of the country is on the ballot.  Our character is on the ballot.  Look at us closely.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask some follow –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Please.  Respond, and then we’re going to have follow up questions. 

DONALD TRUMP: If this is true about Russia, Ukraine, China, other countries, Iraq, if this is true, then he’s a corrupt politician. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right. 

DONALD TRUMP: So, don’t give me the stuff about how you’re this innocent baby.  Joe, they’re calling you a corrupt politician. 

JOE BIDEN: Nobody’s calling me –

DONALD TRUMP: They called it the laptop from hell.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, I want to stay on the issue of race.  We’re talking about the issue –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.  They called it the laptop from hell.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump? 

JOE BIDEN: Nobody –

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re talking about race right now, and I do want to stay on the issue of the race.  President Trump, you’ve –

JOE BIDEN: Kristen, I have to respond to that.

KRISTEN WELKER: Please.

JOE BIDEN: Because, look –

KRISTEN WELKER: Very quickly.

JOE BIDEN: – there are 50 former National Intelligence folks who said that what, this, he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant.  They have said that this is, has all the char – four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage.  Nobody believes it except the, he and his good friend, Rudy Giuliani – 

DONALD TRUMP: You mean the laptop is now another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax? 

JOE BIDEN: And that’s exactly what –

DONALD TRUMP: You got to be – is this where you’re going?

JOE BIDEN: That’s exactly what –

DONALD TRUMP: This is where he’s going.  The laptop –

JOE BIDEN: – they told.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: – is Russia, Russia, Russia?

KRISTEN WELKER: Gentlemen, I want to stay on the issue of race, okay?

DONALD TRUMP: You have to be kidding.

KRISTEN WELKER: Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP: Here we go again with Russia. 

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re going to continue on the issue of race.  Mr. President –

DONALD TRUMP: Can’t believe that one. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – you’ve described the Black Lives Matter movement as a symbol of hate.  You’ve shared a video of a man chanting white power to millions of your supporters.  You’ve said that Black professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights should be fired.  What do you say to Americans who say that kind of language from a president is contributing to a climate of hate and racial strife?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, you have to understand the first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, they were chanting pigs in a blanket, talking about police.  Pigs.  Pigs.  Talking about our police.  Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon.  I said that’s a horrible thing.  And they were marching down the street, and that was my first, uh, glimpse of Black Lives Matter.  I thought it was a terrible thing.  As far as, uh, my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people.  I am the least racist person in this room.

KRISTEN WELKER: What do you say to Americans who are concerned by that rhetoric and by these videos?

DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know what to say.  I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform, and opportunity zones.  I took care of Black colleges and universities.  I don’t know what to say.  They can say anything.  I mean, they can say anything.  It’s a very – it’s, makes me sad, because I am, uh, I am the least racist person.  I can’t even see the audience, because it’s so dark, but I don’t care who’s in the audience.  I’m the least racist person in this room. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay?  Vice President Biden, let me ask you, very quickly, and then I have a follow-up question for you.

JOE BIDEN: Abraham Lincoln here, is one of the most racist Presidents we’ve had in modern history.  He pours fuel on every single racist fire.  Every single one.  He started off his campaign coming down the escalator saying he’s going to get rid of those Mexican rapists.  He’s banned Muslims, because they’re Muslims.  He has moved around and made everything worse across the board.  He says to the, about the Poor Boys.  Last time we were on the stage here, he said I tell them to stand down and stand ready.  Come on.  This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn. 

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, I’m going to give you 10 seconds to respond, and then I have a follow-up question.

DONALD TRUMP: You made a reference to Abraham Lincoln.  Where did that come in?  I mean, where did that –

JOE BIDEN: You said you were Abraham Lincoln. 

DONALD TRUMP: No, no, where did that – no.  No. 

JOE BIDEN: You said –

DONALD TRUMP: I said not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what I’ve done for the Black community.

JOE BIDEN: And I’m saying –

DONALD TRUMP: I didn’t say I’m Abraham Lincoln.  I said not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what I’ve done for the Black community.  Now, you have done nothing other than the crime bill which put –

JOE BIDEN: Oh, God. 

DONALD TRUMP: – tens of thousands of Black men, mostly, in jail. 

JOE BIDEN: Not true.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Let me, let me ask, let me ask –

DONALD TRUMP: And you know what?  They remember it.

KRISTEN WELKER: – Vice President Biden a question.

DONALD TRUMP: Because if you look at what’s happening with the voting right now, they remember.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask Vice President Biden about –

DONALD TRUMP: – that you treated them very, very badly.  Just take a look at what’s happening out there.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, let me give you a chance to respond within this context.  Crime bills that you supported in the 80s and 90s contributed to the incarceration of tens of thousands of young Black men who had small amounts of drugs in their possession.  They are sons, they are brothers, they’re fathers, they’re uncles.  These families are still, to this day, some of them, suffering the consequences.  So speak to those families.  Why should they vote for you?

JOE BIDEN: One of the things is that in the 80s, we passed 100 percent, all 100 senators, voted for a bill on drugs and how to deal with drugs.  It was a mistake.  I’ve been trying to change it since then, particularly the portion on cocaine.  That’s why I’ve been arguing that, in fact, we should not send anyone to jail for a pure drug offense.  They should be going into treatment across the board.  That’s what we should be spending money on.  That’s why I set up drug courts, which were never funded by our Republican friends.  They should not be going to jail for a drug or an alcohol problem.  They should be going into treatment.  Treatment.  That’s what we’ve been trying to do.  That’s what I’m going to get done.  Because I think the American people have now seen that, in fact, it was a mistake to pass those laws relating to drugs, but they were not in the crime bill. 

DONALD TRUMP: But why didn’t he get it done?  See?  It’s all talk, no action, with these politicians.  Why didn’t he get it done?  That’s what I’m going to do when I become President.  You were Vice President along with Obama as your President, your leader, for 8 years.  Why didn’t you get it done?  You had 8 years to get it done.  Now you’re saying you’re going to get it done, because you’re all talk and no action, Joe.

JOE BIDEN: We got a lot –

KRISTEN WELKER: Your response?

JOE BIDEN: – of it done.  We released 38,000 –

DONALD TRUMP: You didn’t get anything done. 

JOE BIDEN: We got 38,000 prisoners left –

DONALD TRUMP: You got –

JOE BIDEN: – out of –

DONALD TRUMP: – nothing done. 

JOE BIDEN: 38,000 prisoners were released from federal prison.  We have, there were over a thousand people who were given clemency.  We, uh, in fact, we are the ones that put in the legislation saying we could look at pattern and practice of police departments and what they were doing, how they were conducting themselves.  I could go on.  But we began the process.  We began the process.  We lost an election.  That’s why I’m running; to win back that election and change his terrible policies.

DONALD TRUMP: I just asked –

KRISTEN WELKER: Quick response and then we’re going to move on to climate change.

DONALD TRUMP: I just asked one question.  Why didn’t you do it in the 8 years, a short time ago, why didn’t you do it?  You just said I’m going to do that, I’m going to do this.  You put tens of thousands of mostly Black young men in prison.  Now, you’re saying you’re going to get, you’re going to undo that.  Why didn’t you get it done?  You had 8 years with Obama. 

JOE BIDEN: Because –

DONALD TRUMP: You know why, Joe?  Because you’re all talk and no action. 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.  Vice President Biden? 

JOE BIDEN: Because we had –

KRISTEN WELKER: And then we’re going to move on to the next section

JOE BIDEN: We had a Republican Congress.  That’s the answer. 

DONALD TRUMP: Well, you got to –

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay. 

DONALD TRUMP: You got to talk them into it, Joe.  Sometimes, you –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: – got to talk them into it. 

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re going to move on to our next section –

DONALD TRUMP: You know?  Like I did with criminal justice reform.

KRISTEN WELKER: – which is climate change.  Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: I had to talk Democrats into it. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Gentlemen?

JOE BIDEN: You did what we’d already done.

KRISTEN WELKER: We’re running out of time, so we got to get on to –

JOE BIDEN: Okay. 

KRISTEN WELKER: – climate change please.  You both have very different visions on climate change.  President Trump, you say that environmental regulations have hurt jobs in the energy sector.  Vice President Biden, you have said you see addressing climate change as an opportunity to create new jobs.  For each of you, how would you both combat climate change and support job growth at the same time?  Starting with you, President Trump.  You have 2 minutes uninterrupted. 

DONALD TRUMP: So, uh, we have the Trillion Trees program.  We have so many different programs.  I do love the environment, but what I want is the cleanest, crystal clear water, the cleanest air.  We have the best, lowest number in carbon emissions, which is a big standard that I notice Obama goes with all the time.  Not Joe.  I haven’t heard Joe use the term, because I’m not sure he knows what it represents or means, but I have heard Obama use it, and we have the best carbon emission numbers that we’ve had in 35 years under this administration.  We are working so well with industry.  But here’s what we can’t do.  Look at China.  How filthy it is.  Look at Russia.  Look at India.  It’s filthy.  The, the air is filthy.  The Paris Accord, I took us out because we were going to have to spend trillions of dollars, and we were treated very unfairly.  When they put us in there, they did us a great disservice.  They were going to take away our businesses.  I will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies, because of the Paris Accord.  It was so unfair.  China doesn’t kick in until 2030.  Russia goes back to a low standard.  And we kicked in, right away, it would have been, it would have been, it would have destroyed our businesses.  So – you ready?  We have done an incredible job environmentally.  We have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, and the best carbon emission standards that we’ve seen in many, many years. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden?

DONALD TRUMP: And we haven’t destroyed our industries. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden?  Two minutes to you uninterrupted. 

JOE BIDEN: Climate change and climate warming and global warming is an existential threat to humanity.  We have moral obligation to deal with it, and we’re told by all the leading scientists in the world, we don’t have much time.  We’re going to pass the point of no return within the next 8 to 10 years.  Four more years of this man eliminating all the regulations that were put in by us to clean up the climate, to clean up, to limit the, the, limit the emissions, will put us in the position where we’re going to be in real trouble.  Here’s where we have a great opportunity.  I was able to get both all the environmental organizations as well as labor, the people worried about jobs, to support my climate plan.  Because what it does, it will create millions of new, good-paying jobs.  We’re going to invest in, for example, 500,000 – excuse me – 50,000 charging stations on our highways, so that we can own the electric car market of the future.  In the meantime, China is doing that.  We’re going to be in a position where we’re going to see to it that we’re going to take 4 million existing buildings and 2 million existing homes, and retrofit them so they don’t leak as much energy, saving hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in the process and creating a significant number of jobs.  And by the way, the whole idea of what this is all going to do, it’s going to create millions of jobs and it’s going to clean the environment.  Our health and our jobs are at stake.  That’s what happening.  And what, right now by the way, Wall Street firms indicated that my plan, my, my plan will in fact create 18.6 million jobs, 7 million more than his.  This is from Wall Street.  And I’ll create $1 trillion more in economic growth than his proposal does.  Not on climate, just on economy.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump, your rebuttal.

DONALD TRUMP: [inaudible] they came out and said very strongly $6,500.00 will be taken away from families under his plan, that his plan is an economic disaster.  If you look at what he wants to do, you know the, if you look at his plan –

JOE BIDEN: No, nothing to do with climate.

DONALD TRUMP: – his environmental plan, do you know who developed it?  AOC Plus 3.  They know nothing about the climate.  I mean, she’s got a good line of stuff, but she knows nothing about the climate, and they’re all hopping through hoops for AOC Plus 3.  Look, their real plan costs $100 trillion.  If we had the best year in the history of our country for 100 years, we would not even come close to a number like that.  When he says buildings, they want to take buildings down, because they want to make bigger windows into smaller windows.  As far as they’re concerned, if you had no window, it would be a lovely thing.  This is the craziest plan that anybody has ever seen, and this wasn’t done by smart people.  This wasn’t done by anybody, frankly, I don’t even know how it could be good politically.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: They want to spend $100 trillion.  That’s their real number.  He’s trying to say it was six.  It’s $100 trillion.  They want to knock down buildings and build new buildings with little, tiny small windows.  I mean, and many other things.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: And many other things.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me have the Vice President respond.

DONALD TRUMP: It is crazy.

KRISTEN WELKER: And we’re running out of time, and we have a lot more questions to get to.

DONALD TRUMP: And he’ll destroy our country.

KRISTEN WELKER: So, let’s hear from the Vice President.  I have a number of more questions.

JOE BIDEN: I don’t know where he comes from.  I don’t know where he comes up with these numbers.  $100 trillion?  Give me a break.  This plan was, and this plan has been endorsed by every major, every major environmental group and every labor group.  Labor, because they know the future lies, the future lies in us being able to breathe, and they know they’re good jobs and getting us there.  And by the way, the fastest growing industry in America are, is, is, is the electric, the, uh – excuse me – uh, solar energy and wind.  He thinks wind causes cancer, windmills.  It’s the fastest growing jobs, and they pay good prevailing wages, 45, 50 bucks an hour.  We can grow, and we can be cleaner if we go the route I’m proposing.

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

KRISTEN WELKER: – please respond –

DONALD TRUMP: We are energy –

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then I have some follow up.

DONALD TRUMP: We are energy independent for the first time.  We don’t need all of these countries that we had to fight war over, because we needed their energy.  We are energy independent.  I know more about wind than you do. It’s extremely expensive.  It kills all the birds.  It’s very intermittent.  It’s got a lot of problems, and they happen to make the windmills in both Germany and China.  And the fumes coming up, if you’re a believer in carbon emission, the fumes coming up to make, make these massive windmills is more than anything that we’re talking about with natural gas, which is very clean.  One other thing, solar.

JOE BIDEN: Find me a scientist that says that.

DONALD TRUMP: I love solar, but solar doesn’t quite have it yet.  It’s not powerful yet to, to really run our big, beautiful factories that we need to compete with the world.  So –

JOE BIDEN: It’s false.

DONALD TRUMP: – it’s all a pipedream.  But you know what we’ll do, we’re going to have the greatest economy in the world.  But if you want to kill the economy –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: – get rid of your oil industry.  If you want and, and what about fracking? 

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, let me, let me have –

DONALD TRUMP: Now, now we have to ask him about fracking.

KRISTEN WELKER: – let me allow Vice President Biden time to respond.

JOE BIDEN: I have never said I oppose fracking.

DONALD TRUMP: You, you said it on tape.

JOE BIDEN: I, I did – show the tape.  Put it on your website.

DONALD TRUMP: I’ll put it on.

JOE BIDEN: Put it on the website.  The fact of the matter is he’s flat lying.

KRISTEN WELKER: Would you rule out banning fracking?

JOE BIDEN: I do rule out banning fracking, because the answer we need, we need other industries to transition to get to ultimately a complete zero emissions by 2025.  What I will do with fracking over time is make sure that we can capture the emissions from the fracking, capture the emissions from gas.  We can do that, and we can do that by investing money and doing it, but it’s a transition to that.

KRISTEN WELKER: I have one more question in this part –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then we need to, we have –

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me, he was against fracking.  He said it.  I will show that to you tomorrow.  I am against fracking, until he got the nomination and went to Pennsylvania, and then he said – but you know what, Pennsylvania?  He’ll be against it very soon, because his party is totally against it.

JOE BIDEN: Fracking on federal land.  I said no fracking and use of oil on federal land.

DONALD TRUMP: You said fracking.  You [inaudible]. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask this final question in this section, and then I want to move on to our final section.  President Trump, people of color are much more likely to live near oil refineries and chemical plants.  In Texas, there are families who worry the plants near them are making them sick.  Your administration has rolled back regulations on these kinds of facilities.  Why should these families give you another 4 years in office?

DONALD TRUMP: Uh, the families that we’re talking about are employed heavily, and they are making a lot of money, more money than they’ve ever made.  If you look at the kind of numbers that we produced for Hispanic, for Black, for Asian, it’s 9 times greater the percentage gain than it was under – in 3 years – than it was under 8 years of the two of them, to put it nicely.  Nine times more.  Now, somebody lives – I have not heard the numbers or the statistics that you’re saying, but they’re making a tremendous amount of money.  Economically, we saved it, and I saved it again a number of months ago when oil was crashing because of the pandemic.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: We saved it.  We got, say what you want about relationships, we got Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Russia to cut back, way back.  We saved our oil industry, and now it’s very vibrant again.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: And everybody has very inexpensive gasoline.  Remember that.

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, your response, and then we’re going to have a final question for both of you.

JOE BIDEN: My response is that those people live on what they call fence lines.  He doesn’t understand this.  They live near chemical plants that in fact pollute; chemical plants and oil plants and refineries that pollute.  I used to live near that when I was growing up in Claymont, Delaware.  And all the – there are more oil refineries in Marcus Hook and the Delaware River than there is any place, including in Houston at the time.  When my mom would get in the car and when, when our first frost to drive me to school, turned on the windshield wipers, there’d be an oil slick on the window.  That’s why so many people in my state were dying and getting cancer.  The fact is those frontline communities, it doesn’t matter what you’re paying them.  It matters how you keep them safe.  What do you do?  And you impose restrictions on the pollutions, the pollutants coming out of those fence line communities.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.  I have one final question.

DONALD TRUMP: Would he close down the oil industry?

KRISTEN WELKER: It’s false, it’s false –

DONALD TRUMP: Would, would you close down the oil industry?

JOE BIDEN: By the way, I would transition from the oil industry, yes.

DONALD TRUMP: Oh, that’s a big statement.

JOE BIDEN: I would transition.  That is a big statement.

DONALD TRUMP: That’s a big statement.

JOE BIDEN: Because I would stop –

KRISTEN WELKER: Why would you do that?

JOE BIDEN: Because the oil industry pollutes significantly.

DONALD TRUMP: Oh, I see.  That’s a big statement.

JOE BIDEN: Here’s the deal.  Well, if you let me finish the statement, because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time.  And I’d stop giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.

DONALD TRUMP: Oh.

JOE BIDEN: He won’t give federal subsidies to the, to the gas – excuse me – to the, to, uh, solar and wind.

DONALD TRUMP: Yeah.

JOE BIDEN: Why are we giving it to the oil industry?

DONALD TRUMP: We actually do give it –

KRISTEN WELKER: All right.

DONALD TRUMP: – to solar and wind.

KRISTEN WELKER: We have one final question.

DONALD TRUMP: And that’s maybe the biggest statement in terms of business, that’s the biggest statement.

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: Because basically –

KRISTEN WELKER: We have one final question.

DONALD TRUMP: – what he’s saying is he is –

KRISTEN WELKER: Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP: – going to destroy the oil industry.  Will you remember that, Texas? 

KRISTEN WELKER: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: Will you remember that, Pennsylvania?  Oklahoma?

KRISTEN WELKER: Vice President Biden, let me give you 10 seconds to respond –

DONALD TRUMP: Ohio?

KRISTEN WELKER: – and then I have to get to the final question.  Vice President Biden.

JOE BIDEN: He takes everything out of context.  But the point is, look, we have to move toward a net-zero emissions.  The first place to do that by the year 2035 is in energy production.  By 2050, totally.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, one final question for both of you.

DONALD TRUMP: Is he going to get China to do it?

KRISTEN WELKER: No, we’re finished with this.

DONALD TRUMP: Is he going to get China to do it?

KRISTEN WELKER: We have to move on to our final question. 

JOE BIDEN: No, I’m going to rejoin –

KRISTEN WELKER: We have to move on to our final question.

JOE BIDEN: – the Paris Accord and make China abide by what they agreed to.

DONALD TRUMP: [inaudible] you a trillion dollars.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, this is about leadership, gentlemen, and this first question does go to you, President Trump.  Imagine this is your inauguration day.  What will you say in your address to America, to Americans who did not vote for you?  You’ll each have 1 minute starting with you, Mr. President.

DONALD TRUMP: We have to make a country totally successful as it was prior to the plague coming in from China.  Now we’re rebuilding it, and we’re doing record numbers.  11.4 million jobs in a short period of time, et cetera, but I will tell you.  Go back.  Before the plague came in, just before, I was getting calls from people that were not normally people that would call me.  They wanted to get together.  We had the best Black unemployment numbers in the history of our country.  Hispanic, women, Asian, people with diplomas, with no diplomas, MIT graduates, number one in the class, everybody had the best numbers, and you know what, the other side wanted to get together.  They wanted to unify.  Success is going to bring us together.  We are on the road to success, but I’m cutting taxes, and he wants to raise everybody’s taxes, and he wants to put new regulations on everything.  He will kill it.  If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen.  Your 401k’s will go to hell and it’ll be a very, very, sad day for this country.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, Vice President Biden, same question to you.  What will you say during your inaugural address to Americans who did not vote for you?

JOE BIDEN: I will say, I’m an American president.  I represent all of you whether you voted for me or against me, and I’m going to make sure that you’re represented.  I’m going to give you hope.  We’re going to move.  We’re going to choose science over fiction.  We’re going to choose hope over fear.  We’re going to choose to move forward because we have enormous opportunities, enormous opportunities to make things better.  We can grow this economy.  We can deal with the systemic racism, and at the same time, we can make sure that our economy is being run and moved and motivated by clean energy, creating millions of new jobs, and that’s the fact.  That’s what we’re going to do, and I’m going to say, as I said in the beginning, what is on the ballot here is the character of this country.  Decency, honor, respect, treating people with dignity, making sure that everyone has an even chance, and I’m going to make sure you get that.  You haven’t been getting it the last 4 years.

KRISTEN WELKER: All right, I want to thank you both for a very robust hour and a half.  A fantastic debate.  Really appreciate it.  President Trump, Former Vice President Joe Biden.  Thank you to Belmont University for hosting us tonight and most importantly, thank you to those watching tonight.  Election Day is November 3rd.  Don’t forget to vote.  Thank you everyone and have a great night.

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