Moderator Kristen Welker asked Mr. Trump about his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 222,000 Americans. Mr. Trump did not directly outline how he planned to address the next wave of the crisis.
“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,” Mr. Trump said, arguing that the mortality rate has decreased. The federal government did not shut down the country’s economy, but states individually decided whether to impose restrictions.
“We are fighting it, and we’re fighting it hard,” Mr. Trump said. He added that a vaccine would likely be ready before the end of the year.
“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,” Mr. Trump said. He later added that it’s “not a guarantee” that a vaccine would be ready in a few weeks, “but it will be by the end of the year.”
“I think my timeline is going to be more accurate,” Mr. Trump said, pushing back against the government’s own health experts, who have said that a vaccine likely won’t be available to the majority of Americans until later in the year.
Mr. Trump also spoke about his own experience catching the virus, saying he “learned a lot.” The president also said that the therapies he had received while in the hospital acted as a “cure” and claimed he was now “immune” to the virus.
“We’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner. It’s going away,” Mr. Trump claimed.
Biden slammed Mr. Trump’s response to the virus, saying that the president does not have a plan to address the crisis.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said. He held up his mask, and said that widespread mask-wearing could save 100,000 lives.
“He still has no plan, no comprehensive plan,” Biden said about the president. He argued that, as president, he would encourage Americans to wear a mask, implement rapid testing and set up national standards for opening up schools and businesses.
“I will take care of this, I will end this, I will make sure we have a plan,” Biden said.
Mr. Trump said that people were “learning to live” with the virus. Biden scoffed at this comment, citing the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died.
“He says we’re learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it,” Biden said.
Mr. Trump also added that he takes “full responsibility” for the response to the virus, months after he said he took no responsibility.
“It’s not my fault that it came here. It’s China’s fault,” Mr. Trump said.