The final presidential debate was less confrontational and included more discussion of the issues than the one we saw in September, possibly because of the new mute button.
But President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have stepped back from controversial topics such as race, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and immigration at Belmont University in Nashville.
NBC moderator Kristen Welker was praised for her performance after Fox News’ Chris Wallace failed to keep order in the murderous first game.
Now that the debates are over, the campaigns have a clear path to Election Day, which is 11 days. Expect both campaigns to make final pushes in battlefield states, such as Pennsylvania and Florida, in the days ahead. As of Thursday, 49 million Americans have already voted and election experts predict a historic turnout.
☕ The last:
- Debate: Did you miss the debate? Here are our takeaways, highlights, and fact-check from Thursday night. Here is the full transcript.
- How they spun it: Biden’s and Trump’s campaigns claim to have won Thursday’s debate. Here’s why.
- Is Philly a battlefield area ?: Here’s why former President Barack Obama campaigned there this week.
- Checking the facts of the debate: We review applicants’ claims on COVID-19, fracking, race, and more.
- Where are Trump and Pence on Friday ?: Trump is organizing two rallies in Florida – in the villages and Pensacola. Vice President Mike Pence casts his morning ballot in Indianapolis before holding events in Swanton, Ohio, and West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
- Where are Biden and Harris Friday ?: Joe Biden will deliver a speech in Wilmington, Delaware on his plans to fight COVID-19. Senator Kamala Harris is in Atlanta to encourage early voting.
- The future of the house: Trump says Republicans will regain a majority in the Democratic-held House of Representatives in the November election. Analysts predict the opposite.
📊 What the polls say:Biden leads Trump by 10 points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
📆 11 days before polling day, 89 days before the inauguration day, there are 70 days left in 2020.
🗳️ Vote: Check out USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state starts voting, and what candidates think about the issues.
We will update this article throughout the day. You can follow all USA TODAY political journalists on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter.
Trump says Sudan will normalize relations with Israel
President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Sudan had agreed to begin normalizing relations with Israel, just days after his administration announced it would remove the North African country from the US list of terrorist sponsor states.
Details of the Sudan-Israel deal, coming just days before the November 3 elections, were not immediately clear. Trump broke the news as he spoke with the leaders of Sudan and Israel on the speakerphone in front of reporters, who had been called into the Oval Office.
“The State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan have agreed to make peace,” Trump told reporters.
A White House statement was less drastic in its description of the deal.
“The leaders have agreed to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations,” the statement said.
– Deirdre Shesgreen
Asset:Trump says Sudan will normalize relations with Israel days after deciding to lift terrorism designation
Biden defends his son Hunter Biden during debate
Biden sought to push back questions about his son Hunter Biden and potential conflicts of interest abroad during the last presidential debate, saying he “ had not taken a dime from any foreign source at any time in my life, ” after Trump raised allegations that the former vice president made money in a business venture involving China with his son.
“ Nothing was unethical ”:Joe Biden defends Hunter Biden under pressure from Trump in debate
Trump defends separation of migrant children from parents
Trump said during the debate that only immigrants with the “lowest IQ” attend their immigration hearings.
His comment came after moderator Kristen Welker asked if her administration intended to reunite the hundreds of children who remain separated from their parents at the border. A recent court file revealed that the parents of 545 immigrant children separated at the border have not been found.
Trump dodged the question, instead attacking a policy of President Barack Obama’s administration known as “catch and release,” where immigrants were released from federal custody to await their hearings, claiming that many they never showed up.
“Only the really… I hate to say that… the ones with the lowest IQs, they could come back,” Trump said.
– Rick Jervis
“They are so well taken care of”:Trump defends separation of migrant children from parents
Tom Ridge endorses Biden
Tom Ridge, a decorated Vietnam veteran, Republican congressman and two-time governor of Pennsylvania, became the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 under George W. Bush. Ridge joined a group that now has more than 600 national security officials, including more than 20 four-star officers, to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden as president.
Ridge told USA TODAY he is not voting for Trump because of a “litany of objections and concerns I have about the rule of law, the Constitution, his crackdown on the institution, of his preference for its own capabilities, as opposed to the military, as opposed to the intelligence community. The list is almost endless. “
Earlier this week, former CIA director John Brennan said he hoped Trump would be “heavily spanked by the electorate.”
By the way, congratulations on making it through another week! Here are some of our most popular political stories and surveys from this week: