The 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC's Kristen Welker, took place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, covered a wide range of topics, including Covid-19, race, immigration and climate change.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 23, 2020.
Read highlights, fact checks and takeaway below:
After watching the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, undecided Atlanta voters spoke to MSNBC's Chris Jansing about their reactions and why some were still unsure about the candidates.
Voters watching last night's debate praised 'civil' tone
Debate watchers in Los Angeles and Nashville responded positively to the "civil" exchanges between the two candidates.
Who won the Trump-Biden debate? Experts grade the candidates
President Donald Trump was the most improved performer at Thursday's debate, but a panel of debate experts told NBC News that Joe Biden was more effective with his arguments.
The three experts all agreed the faceoff was more informative than the chaotic first debate in Cleveland last month, but one noted, "That's a very low bar."
While Trump's strategy of interrupting less and letting Biden speak more in hopes of provoking a gaffe from the former vice president was sound strategy, the experts said Biden didn't make the type of major mistake Trump probably needed to change the race.
Amid debate over xenophobia, reminder 'China virus' is harming Asian Americans
In response to a question about how he would handle the pandemic if reelected, Trump said his administration had acted sufficiently and reissued his claim that Biden had called him "xenophobic" with regard to closing the borders.
It's worth noting he didn't completely bar entry from China. Rather, the administration restricted the entry of foreign nationals who traveled to the country within the previous 14 days. The administration made exceptions for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
And it's still not clear whether Biden was calling Trump's travel ban or his use of the phrase "China virus" xenophobic.
But what is clear is the use of the phrase has coincided with a sharp rise in attacks against Asian Americans. Reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate collected 2,583 incidents during the pandemic between March 19 and August 5.
Discriminatory language around the virus, used primarily by GOP leaders and conservative outlets, has had a profound impact on how Americans view Asians in the U.S., research shows. While anti-Asian bias had been in steady decline for over a decade, the trend reversed in days after there was a significant uptick in the use of “China virus” and similar rhetoric in March. The language prompted an increased subconscious belief that Asian Americans are “perpetual foreigners,” researchers said.
During the debate, the president also claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "dancing on the streets of Chinatown."
The remarks were in reference to an event she held in February, during which she advocated for people to visit the neighborhood’s businesses three weeks before the state issued stay-at-home orders.
One other fact check so we're all on the same page: China is not the same thing as Chinatown.
Fact check: Did Biden call Trump's China travel restrictions 'xenophobic?'
Trump, portraying his decision to restrict some travel to the U.S. from China earlier in the pandemic as a life-saving move he made in the face of Democratic opposition, said Biden had called it "xenophobic."
"When I closed, he said I shouldn’t have closed, and that went on for months. Nancy Pelosi said the same thing — she was dancing on the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco. But when I closed, he said, 'This is a terrible thing, this is xenophobic.' I think he called me racist even, because I was closing it to China," Trump said.
Biden has not directly called the president's travel restriction xenophobic or racist, but he did denounce Trump's coronavirus response as "xenophobic" a day after the travel restriction was announced — responding to a tweet in which Trump used a racist term to describe the virus — and in another tweet in March. He's also called the president racist.
After the president defended ending racial sensitivity training for federal workers during the first debate, Biden said, “He's just, he’s racist."
Meanwhile, Trump's assertion that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was "dancing in the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco" is a mischaracterization.
In February, Pelosi paid a visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown to promote its businesses, which took a hit as reports of coronavirus cases emerged from China. There isn't any evidence she was "dancing." Rather, she got dim sum, according to reports.
Fact check: Did Trump say people should inject bleach to fight Covid-19?
During the debate, Biden referred to Trump's suggestion earlier this year that people inject bleach to help stave off the coronavirus.
"He said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to go away … maybe inject bleach.’ He said he was kidding when he said that. A lot of people thought it was serious," Biden said.
Trump did indeed speculate that an injection of the sort could have a curative effect.
During a news conference at the White House in April, a Homeland Security official described the ability of disinfectants like bleach to kill the coronavirus on surfaces.
Trump said at the time: "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?
"Because, you see, it gets on the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So that you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."
He repeatedly said afterward that he was kidding about the suggestion.
Dems move to limit damage from Biden's comments on oil
Biden's stated plan to “transition” the country away from the oil industry is reverberating — on both sides.
Republicans from Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Govs. Tate Reeves of Mississippi and Greg Abbott of Texas jumped on the moment.
Democrats, meanwhile, are working quick to limit any possible damage to their presidential nominee, highlighting that Biden aims to accomplish the goal by 2050 and that oil industry futures have long looked grim.
We’ll see whether those arguments will work for Democratic candidates in tight races in states and districts big in the oil business — such as the Democratic Senate candidates in Alaska, Texas, Colorado and Kansas. It’s almost certain the moment will be replayed over and over again by Trump loyalists between now and Election Day.
Fact check: Biden gets it wrong on trade deficit with China
Biden on Thursday said Trump had "caused the deficit with China to go up, not down, with China."
NBC News fact-checked this claim during the first presidential debate. It is false.
According to government data, the trade deficit — simply put, the net difference in the monetary value of a nation’s exports and imports with another nation — with China has fallen considerably since Trump has been in office.
In 2016, Trump ran in part on a message that was aggressively critical of the trade deals the U.S. had entered in the past. As president, he negotiated a new free trade deal with Mexico and Canada, and, following a trade war, a preliminary “phase one” deal with China.
Fact check: Are opportunity zones boosting Black and Hispanic communities?
Trump said his “opportunity zones” program was “one of the most successful programs."
“Tremendous investment is being made. Biggest beneficiary, the Black and Hispanic communities,” the president claimed during the debate.
NBC News took a deep look at opportunity zones last month and found that claims of massive job growth are impossible to prove, and that the bulk of the investments to date have gone to real estate deals that do not produce long-term jobs. Investors are not required to report the number of jobs created or housing units developed.
The vast majority of the billions earmarked for opportunity zones has gone to real estate deals. The New York Times also reported that many of the early beneficiaries of the program were the wealthy, including president’s own family members and advisers.
AOC reacts to Trump's debate shoutout
Fact check: Trump says wind power 'kills all the birds'
“I know more about wind than you do. It's extremely expensive, kills all the birds, it's very intermittent, got a lot of problems,” Trump told Biden during an exchange about energy independence.
What's more, glass towers — like the kind Trump lived in until he moved into the White House — actually kill way more birds than wind turbines.