With less than three weeks remaining until the general election (and millions of Americans already casting their ballot), President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on competing townhalls on two different networks Thursday evening answering questions from a select group of undecided voters.
President Donald Trump appeared on NBC, as Savannah Gunthrie moderated the townhall debate, while former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on ABC News, with moderator George Stephanopoulos. Both townhalls were observing strict COVID-19 protocols with extra safety-related measures in place. The audience was socially distanced and required to wear masks and attendees were required to take a temperature check at the door before they could enter the night's events.
Trump's event took place at the Pérez Art Museum while the Biden townhall was hosted at the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Biden's townhall event was slightly longer than Trump's 60-minute appeared on NBC News, with the former vice president speaking with undecided voters for about 90-minutes Thursday night.
Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on ABC News where he was grilled by ABC's George Stephanopoulos and a select group of undecided voters in Philadelphia. The first question of the night for the former vice president was how a hypothetical Biden administration might have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden was also asked about whether he supported the recent movement led by Black Lives Matter supporters to defund the police. Biden said he would not want to see police departments defunded, but instead expand the access to mental health and social workers who would work with police in dealing with some calls.
With the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett fresh on everyone's minds, some prominent Democrats have raised the idea of adding additional justices to the Supreme Court to counter-balance a shift to the right in the nation's highest court. Biden again refused to answer whether he would consider 'packing the court,' but said he would answer the question once he saw how the nomination hearings play out later this month.
Finally, the mother of a transgender child, Mieke Haeck, asked Biden how he would protect LGBTQ rights should he be elected to the White House.
Meanwhile, while former Vice President Joe Biden was answering questions on ABC News, President Donald Trump appeared in a townhall hosted by NBC News, with Savannah Guthrie moderating the townhall as undecided voters queried the president on a wide variety of topics that ranged from his coronavirus infection, to the economy and his taxes.
The event began with Trump being asked whether had taken a coronavirus test on the day of his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump also took the opportunity Thursday night to denounce white supremacy after he was criticized for not doing so during the previous debate.
Gunthrie also pressed the president on his health and the type and severity of his symptoms after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Trump has also faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
One of the biggest criticisms that have been aimed at President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has been the idea that should would help overturn Roe v. Wade, should a case come before the nation's highest court.
Trump's tax returns were also raised during Thursday night's NBC News townhall.
The final debate for the 2020 general election has been scheduled for Oct. 22nd, however, there's no word on whether it will proceed. Biden's campaign has stated that the vice president would not participate if Trump refused to take a test for the coronavirus.
For now, the debate remains on the schedule.
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