WASHINGTON — Once they meet for his or her second and closing debate on Thursday night time, President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. are anticipated to face questions over problems with deep consequence just like the coronavirus, local weather change and nationwide safety.
Their first debate didn’t lend itself to a very considerate dialogue of coverage, given Mr. Trump’s fixed interruptions. This time, the candidates’ microphones will probably be muted for parts of the talk.
Right here’s a information to the place Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden stand on the six subjects chosen for Thursday’s debate by the moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC Information.
Mr. Trump’s coronavirus analysis in early October despatched him to the hospital for 3 days however did nothing to vary his rhetoric about his dealing with of the pandemic.
The president has repeatedly claimed that his administration’s response has been large, and at rallies over the past a number of days, he has insisted that the nation is “rounding the nook” even amid one other surge of instances in lots of locations.
Because the starting of the pandemic, Mr. Trump has downplayed the risk from the virus and has ignored recommendation from well being officers, refusing to put on a masks and holding gatherings with massive crowds. His administration’s failures to quickly develop testing are additionally effectively documented.
Seizing on Mr. Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic, Mr. Biden has been desperate to make a case for why the nation can be higher off if he had been in cost. That has been a central message of his marketing campaign for a lot of months, and he has been fast to level to his plans for addressing the coronavirus disaster, which embrace improved testing, expanded manufacturing of non-public protecting gear, secure vaccine growth and the secure reopening of faculties. He has emphasised the significance of following science, and he has modeled accountable habits on the marketing campaign path, carrying a masks and refraining from holding crowded rallies.
Mr. Biden has mentioned that he hopes Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s prime infectious illness professional, will even serve in his administration. Mr. Trump on Monday attacked Dr. Fauci as “a catastrophe.”
The controversy will give Mr. Biden yet one more high-profile alternative to drive up these contrasts, and to argue that Mr. Trump’s mismanagement has inflicted nice ache on numerous American households whereas additionally inflicting useless financial break.
Sustain with Election 2020
Mr. Trump’s greatest declare to serving to American households is the tax minimize he helped push by way of Congress in 2017. The president brags about doubling the kid tax credit score, which was a part of that measure, although many low-income households don’t obtain the total advantage of the change as a result of they make too little revenue to reap the benefits of it.
One in all Mr. Trump’s most constant marketing campaign messages is that his commerce insurance policies have helped American households by stopping firms from offshoring American jobs and elevating tariffs on items from different nations that compete with American-made merchandise. However his try to deliver again jobs seems to have had restricted success, and his commerce battle with China has harm america greater than it has helped.
The president additionally talks usually about defending American households from violence, insisting that his anti-immigration insurance policies — which blocked asylum seekers and refugees — have led to deportations of gang members and blocked harmful criminals from getting into the nation. In latest weeks, he has seized on the typically violent protests towards police brutality in American cities, saying that his assist of the police is defending “the suburbs” and the lifestyle there for households.
Whereas it stays to be seen what subjects come up on this phase, Mr. Biden has plenty of coverage plans he can draw on which are supposed to assist households, together with his suite of “Construct Again Higher” financial plans.
One plank in that set of plans focuses on caregiving, with proposals addressing take care of babies, older adults and other people with disabilities. He may level to proposals supposed to assist Individuals of various ages. For younger folks, for instance, he proposes to make public faculties tuition-free for a lot of college students. For older folks, he has a plan to bolster Social Safety, and he has accused Mr. Trump of threatening the way forward for that program.
As well as, Mr. Biden has vowed to roll again Mr. Trump’s restrictive immigration insurance policies. On Day 1, he says he’ll ship laws to Congress that would supply a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Race in America
Mr. Trump repeatedly claims to have accomplished extra for African-Individuals than any president apart from Abraham Lincoln, an assertion that almost all consultants say is absurd on its face. To again it up, the president factors to his assist for long-term funding for traditionally Black faculties and universities, and to his signing of the bipartisan First Step Act, which made modest reforms in federal sentencing legal guidelines.
However from the earliest days of his presidency, Mr. Trump has stoked racial divisions within the nation. After clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, he mentioned that there have been “very fantastic folks on either side.” He used vulgar language to deride African nations and mentioned that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS.” And he engaged in a prolonged tradition battle with African-American soccer gamers over their kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem.
Lately, his response to protests about police violence has been to assault the protesters as anarchists and looters and to disclaim that systemic racism exists in police departments. And within the first debate, he refused to denounce the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, telling them to “stand again and stand by.”
Because the dying of George Floyd in police custody in Might, Mr. Biden has emphasised the necessity to struggle racial injustice, talking concerning the challenge in a strikingly totally different manner than Mr. Trump does.
This summer season, Mr. Biden rolled out a plan to handle financial racial disparities, akin to by growing entry to capital for minority-owned companies. He has additionally referred to as for modifications in policing, together with a ban on chokeholds.
Because the very starting of his marketing campaign, Mr. Biden has been centered on denying a second time period to a president whom he faults for encouraging hatred and division within the nation. Mr. Biden factors to Mr. Trump’s feedback after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as having motivated him to run for president.
Local weather change
When Mr. Trump is requested about local weather change, he invariably responds that he has ensured america has the “cleanest air” and “cleanest water.” That’s not true — air air pollution is rising underneath the Trump administration — however it’s also not the identical as local weather change, brought on by human exercise like burning fossil fuels.
Mr. Trump has referred to as local weather change a hoax and referred to as those that care concerning the challenge “prophets of doom.” He additionally has often conceded that people play some function within the planet’s warming. (Scientists have established that man-made emissions account for all the local weather change over the past 50 years, the interval when the overwhelming majority of modifications have occurred.)
His insurance policies, nevertheless, are persistently against addressing international warming. Mr. Trump has moved to withdraw from the Paris settlement on local weather change and has rolled again just about each regulation geared toward decreasing emissions from automobiles, energy crops and different sources. He has promoted the event of fossil gas power, and made it simpler for getting old coal crops to remain on-line.
Lots of his strikes have been met with reward by officers within the oil, fuel and coal sectors who felt laws underneath the Obama administration had been onerous.
Mr. Biden has attacked Mr. Trump as a “local weather arsonist,” criticized the president’s dismissiveness of science and championed a $2 trillion plan to develop clear power whereas driving down emissions. He has referred to as local weather change considered one of 4 “historic crises” going through america, alongside the pandemic, the following financial disaster and racial injustice.
However he additionally has been on the defensive about a few of his positions on local weather change, notably across the Inexperienced New Deal, a local weather plan embraced by progressive teams and criticized by Republicans. In his first debate with Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden mentioned he didn’t assist the Inexperienced New Deal, however his web site calls it a “essential framework” for motion.
One other space the place Mr. Biden is more likely to come underneath assault from Mr. Trump is fracking, the method of extracting oil and fuel from shale rock. Mr. Biden has pledged a ban on new oil and fuel allowing on public lands and waters however has assured union leaders that he’ll defend current fracking jobs whereas pursuing a clear power transition. Mr. Trump has accused him, falsely, of desirous to ban fracking altogether.
If Mr. Trump sticks to his previous script, he’ll tout his efforts to wind down wars and pursue extremists within the Center East.
Underneath his watch, the American army not solely killed the chief of the Islamic State and compelled the phobia group to give up its territory in Iraq and Syria, but in addition took out the commander of an elite Iranian commando unit who officers believed posed a risk to the American Embassy in Baghdad.
However Mr. Trump’s personal army advisers, in addition to international commanders, have been reluctant to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Underneath the guise of his “America First” international coverage, Mr. Trump has pushed a collection of stress campaigns towards different nations, together with NATO allies whom he has criticized for not contributing sufficient for their very own protection, and ruptured multilateral accords. He has additionally taken an uncommon method towards diplomacy with hostile nations. His efforts have been met with combined success.
Ramping up financial sanctions towards Iran, which defied the phrases of the nuclear accord after Mr. Trump withdrew america from the settlement, and pursuing diplomacy with North Korea have led to new weapons manufacturing in each nations. He was the primary sitting American president to step into North Korea — though just for a minute or so, on the Demilitarized Zone — when he and that nation’s chief, Kim Jong-un, agreed to proceed negotiations in 2019. (These talks have since fallen aside.)
A virtually two-year demand that Venezuela’s president depart energy has gone ignored in Caracas. A pledge to ship the “deal of the century” peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians unraveled. But his efforts to normalize relations and ease many years of hostility between Israel and Arab states are to not be dismissed.
As a senator, Mr. Biden served as chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee. His international coverage platform is especially to rebuild alliances that Mr. Trump has undermined — together with NATO, the World Well being Group and numerous United Nations missions. He’s anticipated to recommit america to the Paris local weather accord and the Iran nuclear deal.
Coping with an emboldened China will probably be tough for each Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.
Mr. Trump has hammered China on points together with the coronavirus and human rights abuses however he’s additionally nonetheless attempting to protect his commerce cope with Beijing, and aides have suggested him to mood a few of his criticism to put it aside.
Mr. Biden has signaled extra willingness to work with China on points like international well being and the surroundings, however can also be important of Beijing’s authoritarian techniques towards non secular minorities and protesters in Hong Kong. He has promoted higher financial competitors with China in markets which have largely gone ignored by Mr. Trump, like in Africa.
Mr. Trump has embraced the concept that the election is a referendum on his management, boasting that his stewardship of the nation throughout his first time period has led to a stronger army, a extra resilient financial system, a much less porous border and fewer involvement in international wars. He usually brags that underneath his management, america doesn’t get pushed round by different nations.
However Mr. Trump has eschewed most of the conventional management roles that almost all presidents assume. He has largely didn’t deliver the nation collectively in occasions of tragedy because the “consoler in chief,” usually stoking division as a substitute of therapeutic. And he has rejected the concept that the president ought to set an instance for the general public — refusing to put on masks in the course of the pandemic and shrugging off strategies that his rhetoric units the incorrect tone from the Oval Workplace.
On the worldwide stage, Mr. Trump has additionally deserted the custom of American management. He has alienated most of the nation’s conventional allies, and he has embraced dictators and authoritarian figures around the globe whilst he proclaims that America ought to go it alone.
Mr. Biden presents himself as a really totally different type of chief: a unifying determine who won’t shirk duty within the face of a nationwide disaster and who will probably be sincere with the American folks.
As examples of his personal management, Mr. Biden factors to his capability as a senator to hunt consensus and work throughout the aisle. He additionally boasts of his relationships with world leaders.
His marketing campaign has amounted to an prolonged condemnation of Mr. Trump’s management — in phrases and deeds, at dwelling and on the world stage.
Mr. Biden has assailed Mr. Trump over his governing competence, or lack thereof, notably in the course of the pandemic. And he has criticized Mr. Trump for sowing division, fairly than bringing folks collectively. “The phrases of a president matter,” Mr. Biden likes to say.
Lisa Friedman and Lara Jakes contributed reporting.