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:
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.
Trump says Obamacare must die. Biden says he'll make it into 'Bidencare.'
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden touted his "Bidencare" plan to create a government-run insurance option, as Republican President Donald Trump defended his push to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and craft a "beautiful" alternative.
"What I'm going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option — becomes 'Bidencare,'" the former vice president said, using the phrase twice to describe his proposal to extend Medicaid coverage, allow Americans on private plans the option of a government-run policy, and expand federal subsidies.
While Biden has fiercely defended President Barack Obama and the ACA, his promises of a "Bidencare" plan indicate a desire to build a health care legacy of his own. His campaign has estimated that the plan would cost $750 billion.
Fact check: Trump says Biden sold Ukraine 'pillows and sheets.' What's he talking about?
“I sold, while he was selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank busters to Ukraine. There has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump,” Trump claimed.
This claim perplexed many. Biden’s former chief of staff tweeted he’d be open to buying Biden bedding.
Trump appears to be referring to the fact that under his administration, Ukraine has been approved to purchase lethal weapons from the U.S..The Obama administration offered Ukraine nonlethal aid when the country's conflict with Russia broke out in 2014. At the time, then-Arizona Sen. John McCain said, “the Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we’re sending them blankets and meals. Blankets don’t do well against Russian tanks.”
But Trump is downplaying the security assistance Ukraine received under Obama and Biden, which included hundreds of vehicles, drones, counter-mortar radars and medical supplies.
Trump campaign jumps on Biden's oil comments
On a phone call with reporters after the debate (also known as the virtual spin room), the Trump campaign went after Biden for his comments on phasing out oil in favor of more sustainable energy as part of his environmental plan.
“Joe Biden realized he made a grave error in what he said,” the campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said.
Murtaugh portrayed Biden as two-faced, arguing that he says one thing when on the campaign trail in states like Pennsylvania and another when he’s talking to “environmental extremists and activists.”
“You cannot be Joe from Scranton and have AOC writing your climate change policy at the same time," he said. "The two things are incongruous.”
Biden has walked a fine line on issues like fracking. But the oil industry has not done as well during Trump's term as the president has claimed, either.
Biden says he’ll 'transition' energy industry. Trump and surrogates say he’ll kill U.S. jobs.
At the end of the debate, Biden said he would “transition” the United States away from the oil industry.
“That’s a big statement,” Trump said in response — and the president’s campaign and Republicans are working hard to make it one.
The fracking and oil industries are huge employers in Pennsylvania and Texas, both states Trump and Biden are clamoring to capture.
We’ll see if Trump and his surrogates' zooming in on that moment will be effective. American oil consumption has been on the decline since 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the country has been “transitioning” its energy consumption away from oil for decades.
Fact check: Trump claims Biden called Black Americans 'super predators'
Trump claimed that Biden referred to Black Americans as "super predators" in 1994.
"He's been in government 47 years, he never did a thing, except in 1994, when he did such harm to the Black community and they were called and he called them super predators, and he said that, super predators," Trump said. "And they can never live that down. 1994, your crime bill. The super predators."
This is mostly false — Biden never used that term. It was Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, who used the word "superpredator" to advocate for the 1994 crime bill that Biden co-wrote more than 30 years ago.
Biden did warn of "predators" in a floor speech in support of his bill, however.
The 1994 crime bill earmarked billions of dollars for new prisons and encouraged states to keep criminals behind bars for years by offering special grants. It also instituted a federal "three-strikes" life sentence mandate, among other things. After the bill was enacted, crime dropped and incarceration rates skyrocketed.
"The crime bill, however, was just the most high-profile legislation to increase the number of people behind bars," New York University's Brennan Center for Justice concluded in a 2016 analysis. "On their own, states passed three-strikes laws, enacted mandatory minimums, eliminated parole, and removed judicial discretion in sentencing. By dangling bonus dollars, the crime bill encouraged states to remain on their tough-on-crime course."
Fact check: Trump was given a 'cure' for Covid-19
Trump claimed that he was given a treatment and that "some people would say it's a cure."
There is still no cure for Covid-19. When Trump was hospitalized with Covid-19, he received Regeneron's antibody cocktail. In a video posted to Twitter when he left the hospital, he said it was "a cure."
"For me, I walked in, I didn't feel good, a short 24 hours later, I was feeling great," he said.
While it's likely that the treatment helped Trump, he's overstating its benefit.
It is impossible to know which, if any, of the multiple drugs the president received while hospitalized helped. Doctors also gave Trump the antiviral drug remdesivir and a steroid called dexamethasone.
No drugs for Covid-19, however, have been proven to be a cure for the disease. Clinical trials of the treatment Trump received continue.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is a "reasonably good chance" that the Regeneron drug made a significant difference in the course of the president's illness. But, he added, it's impossible to extrapolate one person's apparent success to the general population.
Fact check: Trump and Biden spar over child separation
Biden and Trump sparred over immigration and Trump's policy of separating children from their parents at the border when the president was asked how he'd reunite the reportedly more than 500 children whose parents can't be located.
Let's take a look at each candidate's claims and the facts.
"A lot of these kids come out without the parents," Trump said, claiming that they were brought by "coyotes" or brought to the U.S. by cartels.
Biden countered that those children "came here with parents. They [the Trump administration] separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come here to begin with."
Biden is accurate here. While some teenagers do come across the border unaccompanied, the children in question were separated from their parents. The separations were discussed by the Trump administration as a way to deter people from crossing the border.
Trump's "zero tolerance" policy aimed to prosecute every illegal border crosser, including asylum-seekers. To do that, the administration separated children, including babies, from their parents or legal guardians because the adults were being detained and prosecuted.
The president also claimed that the "cages" his administration has been criticized for holding the children in were built by the Obama-Biden administration.
"Let me tell you, they built cages," Trump said.
That's true, although there was no widespread Obama-era policy of separating parents and children. Trump and his administration have previously tried to justify the family separation policy and defend against accusations from Democrats that Trump put "kids in cages" by saying Obama started it.
The Obama administration separated migrant children in limited cases, primarily over questions of safety or potential child trafficking but "not as a matter of policy or practice," former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
After a surge in unaccompanied children and women at the border in 2014, the Obama administration did detain families in "cages," or chain link structures, where children were generally kept for the mandated guideline of several days. It also built emergency shelters for children and a detention center for families, some of which have been used to house children during the Trump administration.
Chris Wallace: I would like to have moderated that debate
Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, offered a nod to Welker during the Fox News post-debate reaction.
"First of all, I'm jealous," Wallace said. "I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions."
Final debate wraps up with question about the candidates' would-be inaugurals
The final matchup between Biden and Trump wrapped up with few interruptions — thanks in part to the mute button — and with praise for the moderator for keeping the pace smooth, following up with pointed questions and pressing both candidates on a number of issues.
In the final question, each candidate was asked what he would say in his inaugural address to those who didn't vote for him.
Trump kept to his standard themes, predicting an economic depression if Biden is elected, but he didn't speak directly to those who did not vote for him. His response was more in line with his speeches at campaign rallies, saying that the economy was damaged by Covid-19 and that his administration would bring it roaring back.
Biden said he would be an "American president" and represent everyone, including those who don't vote for him. He promised to grow the economy, create millions of jobs through clean energy and fight systemic racism. He also said that decency and hope are on the ballot and that his administration would restore them in America.