by Wamara Mwine
The final debate between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden was more cordial than previous debates. My colleague NBC Reporter Kristen Welker moderated this debate on October 22nd in Nashville, Tennessee.
I noticed Kristen's questions were rather broad on the racial divide in the country. If it were up to me, I would have asked more questions on the Kenosha Shootings and George Floyd death that led to national riots in America.
Here is a recap on Kristen's question and a portion of the Trump and Biden response.
Kristen Welker: All right. Let’s talk about our next section, which is race in America. And I want to talk about the way Black and Brown Americans experience race in this country. Part of that experience is something called the talk. It happens regardless of class and income, parents who feel they have no choice, but to prepare their children for the chance that they could be targeted, including by the police, for no reason other than the color of their skin. Mr. Vice President, in the next two minutes, I want you to speak directly to these families. Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?
Joe Biden: I do. I do. My daughter is a social worker and she’s written a lot about this. She has her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in social work. And one of the reasons why I ended up working on the East Side of Wilmington, Delaware, which is 90% African-American, was to learn more about what was going on. I never had to tell my daughter if she’s pulled over, make sure she puts… For a traffic stop. “Put both hands on top of the wheel and don’t reach for the glove box because someone may shoot you.” But a Black parent, no matter how wealthy or how poor they are, has to teach their child, “When you’re walking down the street, don’t have a hoodie on when you go across the street.
Donald Trump: Yes, I do. And again, 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 superpredators. And he said that, he said it, superpredators. And they never lived that down. 1994, your crime bill, the superpredators. Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done. Criminal justice reform, Obama and Joe didn’t do it. I don’t even think they tried because they had no chance at doing it. They might’ve wanted to do it. But if you had to see the arms I had to twist to get that done, it was not a pretty picture. And everybody knows it, including some very liberal people that cried in my office. They cried in the Oval Office.
Mwine analysis: Both candidates just offered a limited scope of the larger issues related to Black Lives Matter. I think if Donald Trump had gone into these communities and actually met with African-Americans on their turf, that would be real outreach. Trump also has black mouthpieces like Paris Denard, frequently lies about about President Trump's accomplishments on television and radio interviews. I think this was also a chance for Biden to actually quote African-American activists vs. just re-telling his personal stories. Kristen should have specifically questioned the candidates about the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.
The other interesting exchange was about foreign relations and meddling in U.S. voting and elections.
Kristen Welker: All right. We’re going to move on to our next section, which is national security. And I do want to start with the security of our elections and some breaking news from overnight. Just last night, top intelligence officials confirmed again that both Russia and Iran are working to influence this election. Both countries have obtained US voter registration information, these officials say, and Iran sent intimidating messages to Florida voters. This question goes to you, Mr. Vice President. What would you do to put an end to this threat? You have two minutes, uninterrupted.
Joe Biden: I made it clear and I asked everyone else to take the pledge. I made it clear that any country, no matter who it is, that interferes in American elections will pay a price. They will pay a price. And it’s been overwhelmingly clear this election — I won’t even get into the last one — this election, that Russia has been involved, China’s been involved to some degree, and now we learn that Iran is involved. They will pay a price if I’m elected. They’re interfering with American sovereignty. That’s what’s going on right now. They’re interfering with American sovereignty.
Donald Trump: Well, let me respond to the first part, as Joe answered. Joe got $3.5 million from Russia and it came through Putin, because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. And you got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million. And someday you’re going to have to explain, why did you get three and a half? I never got any money from Russia. I don’t get money from Russia.
Mwine analysis: Trump has had a cozy relationship with Putin and North Korea. In his effort to be a showman, Trump has let Russia engage in U.S. elections and it is very hard to know the extent of what happened in the last race between Hillary Clinton and President Trump. The larger problem is what will happen on November 3rd, election day.
Kristen Welker: The goal is for you to hear each other and for the American people to hear every word of what you both have to say. And so with that, if you’re ready, let’s start. And we will begin with the fight against the coronavirus. President Trump, the first question is for you. The country is heading into a dangerous new phase. More than 40,000 Americans are in the hospital tonight with COVID, including record numbers here in Tennessee. And since the two of you last shared a stage, 16,000 Americans have died from COVID. So please be specific. How would you lead the country during this next stage of the coronavirus crisis? Two minutes, uninterrupted.
Donald Trump: So as you know, 2.2 million people modeled out, were expected to die. We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China. It’s a worldwide pandemic. It’s all over the world. You see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now. If you notice, the mortality rate is down 85%. The excess mortality rate is way down and much lower than almost any other country. And we’re fighting it and we’re fighting it hard. There is a spike. There was a spike in Florida and it’s now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas. It’s now gone. There was a very big spike in Arizona. It’s now gone. And there was some spikes and surges and other places, they will soon be gone. We have a vaccine that’s coming. It’s ready. It’s going to be announced within weeks. And it’s going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine.
Joe Biden: 220,000 Americans dead. You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who is responsible for not taking control. In fact, not saying I take no responsibility initially. Anyone is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America. We’re in a situation where there are a thousand deaths a day now. A thousand deaths a day. And there are over 70,000 new cases per day. Compared to what’s going on in Europe as the New England Medical Journal said, they’re starting from a very low rate. We’re starting from a very high rate. The expectation is we’ll have another 200,000 Americans dead between now and the end of the year. If we just wore these masks, the president’s own advisors have told him, we can save a 100,000 lives. And we’re in a circumstance where the president thus far and still has no plan, no comprehensive plan.
Mwine analysis: As I noted in my piece regarding the herbal ashwagandha and Covid 19, the pink elephant remains in the room. I even sent Kristen a link to my story and called her phone and left a voicemail before the debate. Still stonewalling prevails. It is a fact that the majority of America does not know about the healing powers of this all natural herb that can block the proteins that cause the virus. Neither candidate mentioned ashwagandha as a solution. My friend who is a doctor at John's Hopkins Medicine says it could be next summer before the vaccine is available to Americans and that it would cost $850 a shot, $550 with insurance. That is a long time to wait for a vaccine that may not actually work. What is worse than the virus itself is the capacity for it to spread, as NBC News has reported.