President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden squared off for the last time before the Nov. 3 presidential election Thursday in Nashville. The debate was more structured than the first one last month, with NBC News moderator Kristen Welker frequently reminding candidates when they went over. The event earned a better reaction than the previous one, with praise for Welker’s performance.
The debate started with a heated discussion on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump criticized lockdowns, calling New York City a “ghost town” and restaurants are “dying” because of the state’s Democratic leadership. “If you go and look at what’s happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. It’s a ghost town. And when you talk about plexiglass, these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money,” Trump said. He went on to say plexiglass is “unbelievably expensive” and it is “not the answer.”
Biden disagreed, praising New York and noting that many of the states experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases because of looser restrictions. “They’re the red states. They’re the states in the midwest,” Biden said. “They’re the states in the upper midwest. That’s where the spike is occurring significantly. But they’re all Americans. They’re all Americans. And what we have to do is say wear these masks, number one.”
Is it just me, or is Kristen Welker doing a better job than Chris Wallace?
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) October 23, 2020
“Welker asking Biden about the crime bill. She’s doing great,” commentator Toure wrote. “Said to my husband before the debate started: Kristen Welker is smarter and more well-prepared than both men on the stage. And sure enough, she is,” MSNBC’s Elise Jordan wrote. Even conservative Ben Shapiro praised Welker for doing “an excellent job thus far.”
30 minutes in, Kristen Welker is, unsurprisingly, doing an amazing job. https://t.co/vhq5tYaej3
— Lauren Peikoff (@laurenpeikoff) October 23, 2020
Everytime Kristen Welker says, “We’re running out of time…,” I get super excited.
— Jess Merrill (@jessmerrill) October 23, 2020
Trump is truly a windbag himself and Welker has given up. Hope this ends soon. This has now become a waste of time.
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) October 23, 2020
Some people were not completely pleased with the handling of the debate. Tom Nichols, an advisor for the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, was not happy with Trump getting the last word. “Here we go again. Welker tries to move on, Trump demands the last word, and he gets it. Exasperating,” Nichols wrote.
I really want them to talk more about Amy Coney Barrett & the Supreme Court. What that could mean for women & the LGBTQ community #Debates2020
— Lorraine Timmons (@Lolo_Teresa) October 23, 2020
A few were frustrated that some important topics were not covered in the debate. Quite a few people noted that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was not brought up.
Kristen Welker did a great job moderating. Way better than the others.#Debates2020
— D. T. Coffin Nail (@dtneal) October 23, 2020
As the debate came to a close, Welker received more good reviews from viewers. “Kristen Welker is tonight’s winner. I don’t think that’s up for debate,” one person wrote.
Kristen Welker won the debate.
— Robert Brown (@truthtold8) October 23, 2020