The appearances of the candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden at citizen forums bring little new. However, differences are all the more apparent.
WASHINGTON taz | US President Donald Trump and his democratic challenger Joe Biden answered questions from voters on Thursday evening in two parallel TV citizens’ forums. Politically, the long-distance duel had little new to offer, but the demeanor and behavior of the two opponents could hardly have been more different.
Trump was aggressive and toxic, especially at the beginning of the broadcast. The question from NBC presenter Savannah Guthrie regarding the conspiracy theories of QAnon supporters, he called “very sweet”. He owed his voters a clear answer as to how he felt about the absurd theories.
Biden, on the other hand, tried compassion, understanding and specific political plans. His lengthy replies, in which the former US Vice President often talked about his neck and neck, did not exude the confidence that many voters would want from him.
Actually, Trump and Biden should have faced each other on Thursday in the second television debate. However, the president’s positive coronavirus test results almost two weeks ago and his refusal to participate in a virtual debate prevented the two top US candidates from meeting again.
Trump’s aggressive behavior towards Guthrie was by far the most memorable moment of the Miami Citizens Forum. “It’s starting again,” said a visibly exasperated president when asked about his attitude towards right-wing extremist groups. “You always do that. […] Are you listening? I condemn white supremacy. What’s the next question? “
In the first debate, Trump made headlines when he refused to clearly denounce right-wing extremist groups. At that time he declared that the “Proud Boys” should hold back. In the same breath, however, he said that they should be ready. “Stand back and stand by” was Trump’s choice of words at the time.
As can be read in retrospect in many right-wing extremist chat rooms and on various social networks, members and supporters of various groups celebrated the President’s statement as a kind of confirmation.
The questions posed by voters in both citizen forums focused primarily on the ongoing corona crisis. The economic situation, the future of health insurance and the current process for the appointment of a new chief judge in the Supreme Court were also mentioned.
Despite his recent personal experience with the virus, Trump remains convinced that he and his administration did a “fantastic job” in fighting the pandemic. He also stated that the worst would already be behind the US. And this despite the fact that the number of infections is currently rising again in many US states and more than 210,000 people in the United States have so far died from the virus.
Biden again criticized the president for knowing about the deadly dangers of the virus as early as spring and still doing nothing to prevent a widespread outbreak. “Americans do not panic, but Trump did panic,” said the Democratic top candidate, alluding to Trump’s statement that he did not want to panic the US population unnecessarily.
The 77-year-old Biden, who answered questions from voters in Philadelphia, tried to differentiate himself clearly from Trump. He also used a quote from his father: “Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity.” He explained that equality was one of the central themes of his political life.
“If I win the presidential election, you will not hear any racist agitation from me and nothing that further divides us. You will hear from me what brings us together, ”said Biden at the citizen forum led by ABC presenter George Stephanopoulos.
Fracking and the Green New Deal
As in the first disastrous debate between the two candidates on September 29th, Biden reiterated his controversial positions on fracking and the Green New Deal – a large-scale legislative package to move away from fossil fuels. He stated that he would not ban the controversial fracking method for oil and gas extraction and that the Green New Deal was going too far for him.
The ex-vice president also gave no clear answer to the question of whether he would increase the number of Supreme Court justices should Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed by the Senate as the successor to the recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Trump was less aggressive with voters, but owed them real answers on many questions. However, the 74-year-old said after a long hesitation that he would accept an election defeat. At the same time, he repeated his criticism of the postal voting system, which he said could lead to election manipulation.
When asked why voters who still haven’t decided on a candidate should vote for him, Trump said confidently, “Because I’ve done a great job.”
The last TV duel between the two US presidential candidates before the election is scheduled for the coming week. The venue is Nashville in the US state of Tennessee.