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:
Trump gets asked about environmental racism. He points to the economy.
Trump was asked about poor Black and brown Americans who live near chemical plants and oil and gas refineries and fear the pollutants coming from those facilities are making them sick, whether with cancer or other ailments.
Welker noted Trump’s efforts at deregulation and how that might have made conditions more unhealthy for those Americans, and what his message is on why they should support him for four more years.
Trump’s response? His policies were making those people wealthier than ever.
Fact check: Trump says he has a plan to cover pre-existing conditions. He doesn’t.
Trump said Thursday: "We will always protect people with pre-existing [conditions]. So I would like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand-new, beautiful health care."
Trump has not released a health care plan or endorsed policy ideas to protect pre-existing conditions.
He has fought to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which set up those protections by requiring insurers to accept all customers, prohibiting them from charging sick people higher prices, and guaranteeing a minimum package of policy benefits. While there is no current partywide plan, Trump and Republicans don’t support all of those provisions.
Trump-backed GOP legislation that passed the House and died in the Senate in 2017 would have weakened pre-existing condition rules by granting waivers to states so insurers can charge sicker patients higher costs on the basis of health status. Other Republican bills would also waive those rules for states.
Trump's messaging around the Central Park jogger case
During the segment on race, Trump pointed to the huge crime bill that Biden ushered through Congress in 1994, which many point to as having been a significant factor in drumming up mass incarceration, especially of those in Black and brown communities.
But Biden hit back, citing Trump's involvement in driving the rhetoric around the five teenagers who were coerced into taking responsibility for the rape and assault of a female jogger three decades ago.
The young men were later exonerated for the crime after having served years in prison, but Trump's messaging might have contributed to the support that drove the crime bill into law: While he didn't name the teens, Trump ran full-page ads in The New York Times calling for the return of the death penalty in New York state because of the "reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman."
One of the five, Raymond Santana, recently told NBC News that Trump's campaign ratcheted up public opinion into a frenzy against the boys. Some experts also say his rhetoric opened the door for harsher punishment of juvenile offenders. As The Atlantic pointed out, from 1995, when the word "superpredator" was made famous, to 2005, when the Supreme Court banned the death penalty for juvenile offenders, 62 percent of the children placed on death row across the U.S. were Black or Latino.
Final tracker tally: More than 200 attacks combined, nearly 50 interruptions
Fact check: Biden suggests Trump could deplete Social Security by 2023. Needs context.
Biden suggested Thursday that Trump's policies could bankrupt Social Security.
The president is "the guy that the actuary of Medicare said, of Social Security, that if in fact he continues to withhold, his plan to withhold the tax on Social Security, Social Security will be bankrupt in 2023, with no way to make up for it," Biden said.
The Biden campaign has cited a letter by the Social Security Administration’s chief actuary that said that permanently eliminating all payroll taxes without a replacement would deplete the Social Security trust fund by 2023. But this is not Trump’s current position and the same letter noted that if Congress mandated the cost of the tax cuts come out of the general fund, as Trump has suggested, then benefits would be “essentially unaffected.”
The Biden campaign immediately alleged that Trump was arguing for a de facto gutting of Social Security, since it is funded by payroll taxes.
But the White House quickly clarified that Trump doesn’t actually want to eliminate payroll taxes entirely, only to permanently forgive a four-month payroll tax holiday he issued via executive order during the coronavirus crisis. On Aug. 13, for example, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters: “What he was meaning yesterday is that he wants permanent forgiveness of the deferral.”
Trump has also said he’d use deficit spending to fund his tax holiday plan, which would not affect Social Security.
Another important thing to keep in mind: There’s no scenario in which Trump could make any permanent changes to the tax system without the OK of Congress.
Trump calls other countries 'filthy' in question on climate change
Asked about climate change, Trump pointed the finger at countries like China, Russia and India, calling them “filthy.”
“Look at China,” Trump said. “How filthy it is! Look at Russia. Look at India. It’s filthy!”
The president was immediately referencing pollution, but the word carries a connotation far beyond that.
It was reminiscent of when the president referred to some African and Latin American countries as “s---holes.”
Biden and Trump spar, again, on whether the stock market is the economy
Trump said the stock market would “boom” if he were to be re-elected, and that if Biden were elected, markets would “crash.”
“Where I come from...people don't live off of the stock market,” Biden replied, noting the deepening divide between Wall Street and Main Street.
While Trump has frequently touted the stock market’s rise as a proxy for his own success, it has been seen as both cause and symptom of the widening gap between the country's haves and have-nots.
By the numbers, the rich are getting richer and the less well off are staying that way — or worse.
There are 644 billionaires in the U.S. and during the pandemic they gained $1 trillion in net worth, according to a new analysis.
A study from UBS and PwC showed that billionaire wealth increased by 27.5 percent during the spring lockdowns, with the stock market pushing the fortunes of the world’s richest citizens past the $10 trillion mark for the first time.
The world’s richest man, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, has seen his fortune almost double so far this year, from $115 billion to just over $200 billion. The bulk of Bezos' fortune comes from his Amazon shares, which hit a high this year amid record demand from housebound consumers who turned to the e-commerce giant for everything from toilet paper to streaming services, and saw continuing strong demand for its cloud computing services.
Journalists of color respond to Trump calling himself 'least racist'
Trump's 'lowest IQ' remark about migrants slammed on Twitter
After Trump said immigrants "with the lowest IQ" might show up for asylum hearings after having been released into the country, the comment quickly drew clapbacks on Twitter.
"Trump says he 'hates' to insult someone by saying they're 'low IQ'. As we've seen over the years, he doesn't hate it enough," Arianna Huffington tweeted.
Fact check: Was U.S. the first country to shut down travel from China after Covid-19 emerged?
Biden on Thursday said Trump only "shut down" travel from China at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic "late, after 40 countries had already done that."
This is true.
Starting on Feb. 2, the U.S. barred entry by foreigners who had traveled in China in the past two weeks, with some exceptions.
According to a list kept by the Council on Foreign Relations of countries that shut down travel from China because of the Covid-19 pandemic — and when they did it — at least 42 did so before the United States.
The best carbon emission numbers in 35 years? Not so much
Trump just said that U.S. has achieved the best carbon emission numbers in 35 years.
But he has cut funding to EPA and gotten rid of more than 70 environmental regulations, weakening climate protections. The U.S. actually saw the biggest spike in carbon emissions in 2018 since 2000 — that was under Trump.