Trump vs. Biden: Quotes from the final presidential debate

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  • President Donald Trump and  Joe Biden held their final debate in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday evening.
  • Each candidate’s microphone was switched off while his opponent made a statement on a topic. 
  • Here are some key quotes from Trump and Biden as they launched their final bid to convince undecided American voters.

Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden held their final debate in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday evening, with less than two weeks to go before the November presidential election.

To avoid a rerun of their first contentious debate, in which Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden, each candidate’s microphone was switched off while his opponent made a statement on a topic. NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker was moderating.

Here are some key quotes from Trump and Biden as they launched their final bid to convince undecided American voters.

Covid-19 pandemic

Welker asked how each candidate would lead the country out of the pandemic crisis.

Trump: "We're fighting it and we're fighting it hard… We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

Trump: "I caught it. I learned a lot … We have to recover. We can't close up our nation."

Biden: "If you hear nothing else I say tonight hear this ... Anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of United States of America."

Biden: "This is the same fellow told you this is going to end by Easter last time. This is the same fellow who told you that, don't worry, we're going to end this by the summer. We're about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he has no clear plan."

Trump: "I don't know if we're going to have a dark winter ... We're opening up our country. We've learned and studied and understand the disease."

Biden: "He says ... we're learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it."

Foreign policy

Biden: "He's legitimised North Korea. He's talked about his good buddy (leader Kim Jong Un), who's a thug. And he talks about how we're better off when North Korea is much more capable of firing a missile that is able to reach US territory."

Trump: "You know what? North Korea - we're not in a war. We have a good relationship."

Biden: "We had a good relationship with Hitler before he in fact invaded Europe. Come on."

"The reason he (Kim) would not meet with President Obama is because President Obama said, 'We're going to talk about denuclearisation. We're not going to legitimise you. We're going to continue to push stronger and stronger sanctions on you.' That's why he wouldn't meet with us."

Climate change and energy

Trump: "Would you close down the oil industry?

Biden: "I would transition from the oil industry yes. ... Because the oil industry pollutes, significantly."

Trump responds: "Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania?"

Biden on fracking: "I never said I opposed fracking ... we can capture emissions from the factory and capture the emissions from gas, we can do that. And we can do that by investing money and doing some transition to that."


Trump: "No matter how well you run (the Affordable Care Act), it's no good. What we'd like to do is terminate it. We have the individual mandate done. I don't know that it's going to work. If we don't win (in court) ... we'll have Obamacare but it will be better run."

Biden: "People deserve to have affordable health care, period. Period. Period. Period."


Trump: "(I've done) the criminal justice reform bill, prison reform, opportunity zones, I took care of Black colleges and universities."

Biden: "(Trump) pours fuel on every single racist fire. Every single one. He started off his campaign coming down the escalator saying he's getting rid of those Mexican rapists. He's banned Muslims because they're Muslims. ... This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn.""


Biden on children separated at the border: “It makes us a laughingstock and it violates every notion of who we are.”

Trump: "Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels ... We let people in but they have to come in legally."


Trump: "If he is elected, the stock market will crash."

Biden: "The idea that the stock market is booming is his only measure of what's happening. Where I come from in Scranton ... the people don't live on the stock market."

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