World News – CA – Trump refuses to say if he passed COVID-19 test before first debate with Biden


The Associated Press

US President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden faced, in a way, Thursday night their scuttled second debate replaced by televised town hall duels that presented striking differences in temperament, views on racial justice and approaches to the pandemic that reshaped the nation

Trump was on the defensive about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 215,000 Americans, and evasive when pressed to find out if he had taken a mandatory COVID-19 test before his first debate with Biden Angry and combative, he refused to expose the QAnon conspiracy group – and only did so against white supremacists

The president also appeared to admit he was in debt and left open the possibility that part of it was owed to a foreign bank. He insisted that he owed no money to Russia or a « sinister people » and suggested that being in debt of $ 400 million was a « very, very small percentage » compared to the all of its assets

Biden, appearing nearly 1,200 miles away, denounced the White House’s handling of the virus, saying he was responsible for shutting down a pandemic response office established by the Obama administration in which he has served Although at times vague, he acknowledged that it was a mistake to support a 1994 crime bill that led to an increase in black incarceration and suggested he would finally clarify his position on the Supreme Court enlargement if Trump’s presidential candidate sits before election day

Trump, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19, dodged directly by responding if he had taken a test on the September 29 debate, saying only « maybe I did, can -being I didn’t « The rules of debate required every candidate, using the honor system, to test negative before the Cleveland event, but Trump went around in circles when asked when he last tested negative

It was his positive test two days later that created Thursday’s bizarre spectacle, which deprived most viewers of a simultaneous glance at the candidates just 19 days before election day The timing seemed right for a race like no other, as another campaign ritual changed by the pandemic that has rewritten society’s standards

Presidential rivals have posed questions in different cities on different networks: Trump on NBC from Miami, Biden on ABC from Philadelphia Trump has backed off plans for the presidential showdown originally scheduled for the evening after debate organizers said he would be held practically after his diagnosis of COVID-19

Town halls have proposed a different format for the two candidates to present themselves to voters, after the couple held a chaotic and combative first debate late last month The difference in tone of the men was immediate and striking

Trump was Trump He was strong and argumentative, wrestling with host Savannah Guthrie, complaining about the questioning – and ending up saying for the first time that he would honor the results of a fair election, but only after cast extraordinary doubt on the likelihood of justice

« And then they say ‘Will you agree to a peaceful transfer,’ Trump said » And the answer is, ‘Yes, I will’ But I want this to be an honest election, and everyone else too « 

He again sought to play down revelations from a New York Times investigation that he had more than $ 400 million in debt and suggested the information is false that he paid little or no federal tax on income most years over the past two decades He insisted that Americans should not be alarmed by his debt and repeatedly insisted that he was « under-indebted »

« It’s a small percentage of my net worth, » Trump said of his reported debt But he left open the possibility that some of his debt was owed to a foreign bank by saying « No, I don’t owe no money to Russia I owe a very, very small, it’s called mortgages « 

Biden meanwhile, took a much different and gentler approach with questions from the audience.The former vice president, who struggled to grow up with a stutter, stuttered slightly at the start of the program and at one point, closed his eyes and slowed down his response to spell his words clearly Sometimes his answers buzzed

Dressed in a blue suit and holding a white cloth mask in one hand, the Democratic candidate also brought a small notecard on stage and referred to it while vowing to roll back tax cuts for Americans the richest He said it would save money, as he looked at his notes, « let me see $ 92 billion »

Biden has vowed to say before Election Day whether he will support increasing the number of Supreme Court justices if Democrats win the Presidency, Senate and House after November

He refused for weeks to answer the question but went further Thursday evening He said: « I am still not in favor » of extending the tribunal, but that his final decision depended on how the confirmation of ‘Amy Coney Barrett in Supreme Court « gets treated » and « how rush they are rushing it »

Biden also criticized Trump’s foreign policy, stating that « America first » made « America alone » « and » this president kisses all the thugs in the world »He became introspective when asked what it would be like if he lost

“It could mean I’m a bad candidate, that I didn’t do a good job,” Biden said “But I think, I hope that doesn’t say that we also disagree racially, ethnically and religiously that it seems the president wants us to be « 

Biden said he plans to participate in next week’s debate but will ask Trump to take a COVID-19 test before he arrives « It’s just decency » to everyone around him, including non-candidates like cameramen, Biden said

The two are still expected to occupy the same space for a debate for a second and final time next week in Nashville. But the cancellation of Thursday’s debate has always had repercussions on both campaigns

Trump and Biden fought on September 29 in Cleveland in a debate defined both by the president’s constant harassment of his opponent, which brought down his support, and by his place on the calendar: just two days before Trump announces that he had tested positive for coronavirus

Trump was hospitalized for three days, and while convalescing in the White House, the debate committee decided to make their second debate a remote – which the president immediately rejected

Lemire reported from New York Additional reporting from Associated Press editors Bill Barrow in Wilmington, Delaware, and Zeke Miller and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington

US President Donald Trump speaks at an NBC News Town Hall with Moderator Savannah Guthrie, at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Thursday, Oct January 15, 2020 in Miami (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

In this combined image of two photos showing both US President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Sept. February 29, 2020, at Case Western University and the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)

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World news – CA – Trump refuses to say if he passed the COVID-19 test before the first debate with Biden


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