WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump said he was the “least racist person” in the room at the final debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 election, while assuring that his anti-racism legacy is only second to that of Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery.
Unlike the chaotic first debate a month ago, which had Biden telling Trump to “shut up, man,” Thursday’s was a more civilized event, which did not result in as many viral moments, but some highlights are collected below.SECOND ONLY TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN
In the section on racism in the US, Trump defined himself as “the least racist person in this room” in which, aside from Biden, there appeared to be only Kristen Welker, the moderator of the debate and only the second Black woman to do so solo.
“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,” he continued.
In addition, Trump compared himself to the former president who abolished slavery.
“Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln… nobody has done what I’ve done,” Trump said.
This provoked Biden to mock him: “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire.”DEALING WITH DICTATORS
In discussing foreign policy, Biden spoiled the president’s supposedly chummy relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying the president “embraces guys like the thugs, like in North Korea.”
“North Korea, we’re not in a war,” Trump said. “We have a good relationship. People don’t understand. Having a good relationship with leaders of other countries is a good thing.”
But Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice president between 2009-2017, had a quick response: “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he, in fact, invaded Europe, the rest of Europe.”BIDEN DISTANCES FROM OBAMA
As he did during the Democratic primaries, Biden distanced himself on Thursday from some of Obama’s immigration policies, while Trump repeatedly asked him: “Who built the cages, Joe?”
“We made a mistake. 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,” replied Biden, who then criticized Trump for having used family separation as an immigration weapon, a strategy that has resulted in around 545 minors still separated from their parents.
“It’s criminal… And it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation,” Biden said.
However, the president replied that “they are so well taken care of. They’re in facilities that were so clean.”A VACCINE ‘IN WEEKS’
Pressured by polls that are against him and by the nearly 50 million Americans who have already cast their votes, Trump took the first opportunity he had to promise the approval of a vaccine against COVID-19 “within weeks.”
“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,” said the president.
Biden blackened the hopeful outlook painted by Trump and warned of a “dark winter” amid the pandemic.TIT FOR TAT
One of the most bitter face-to-face moments occurred in the foreign policy section, when the debate led to mutual accusations of corruption, conflicts of interest and payments from foreign governments.
Biden denied having received a “single penny from any country whatsoever” when Trump accused him of receiving payments from Russia, of his and his son’s involvement with a Ukrainian gas company and of having facilitated business for his brothers in places such as Iraq.
“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,” Biden said of the episode that led to the president’s impeachment.
“What he’s saying is a bunch of garbage,” the Democrat reiterated after Trump insisted that Biden is “a corrupt politician” posing as an “innocent baby.”