NEW YORK / OSLO (Dagbladet): On two different TV stations, at the same time, the president and the presidential candidate each held their live public meeting at 02.00 on Friday night Norwegian time. There were also two radically different performances.
While Trump was grilled and ended up in aggressive exchanges over and over again, Biden’s meeting took place in much calmer forms where he spent plenty of time answering questions in detail.
NBC’s moderator Savannah Guthrie started by asking Trump a series of critical questions about the coronavirus. She pointed to his own case of infection, and asked if it was wise for him to be out among people.
– (…) Being out among large groups is risky in a pandemic, Trump said, but added that he feels healthy and symptom-free.
Five states away, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Biden sat in front of ABC television viewers. There, he sharply criticized Trump’s corona handling, saying that it is “a president’s responsibility to lead” and that Trump “had not done so”.
“The president knew how dangerous the virus was,” he said.
The background for the live broadcasts was that the presidential debate, which was to be held on Friday night, was canceled. Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on October 2. While Biden agreed to hold a virtual debate instead, the president refused to attend on the terms.
On NBC, Trump used to attack Biden in the usual way. He also received a number of questions from the moderator, and was asked, among other things, to condemn white extremists once and for all. Guthrie referred to his earlier statements about the group Proud Boys.
– I condemn white extremists, OK? “I have been doing this for years,” replied a clearly annoyed president, before trying to change his focus by asking, “Why don’t you ask Biden if he condemns Antifa?”
– Let’s throw away the show, keep asking these questions, he continued.
Must go to jail
Guthrie also thanked that Trump as presidential candidate and later as president has refused to hand over his tax return. The New York Times, which has obtained the president’s tax reports, came out earlier in October with a revelation in which they wrote that Trump only paid 750 dollars, equivalent to around 7,000 kroner, in federal income tax in 2016, the year he was elected president. He has also booked debts from multiple years back, according to tax reports.
Trump has denied the allegations, calling them “fake news.”
– Why do not you just present the tax returns to prove this?
“I do not present them out of common sense,” Trump replied, adding that he would “gladly” do so when “possible.”
He then went hard against the New York Times’ revelation and the way the information may have been obtained.
– If they have my tax returns, then they must, as you know, go to jail.
– So handsome!
Throughout the broadcast, Trump received many critical questions. Towards the end, however, a voter, Paulette, got the microphone. NBC stated that she was a Republican, but would probably vote for Biden. She started by bragging about Trump’s appearance.
– You are so handsome when you smile, Paulette said to Trump who lit up and smiled.
Then she, who has grandparents who immigrated to the United States, asked the president about his immigration policy.
Biden refused to answer about the Supreme Court
At the same time as the interrogation of Trump was in full swing, Biden received a number of questions from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on topics such as economics, taxes and the Supreme Court. He was asked to explain his tax plan, which among other things means that Trump’s tax cuts for American companies and the country’s richest will go away.
– Well, I need the votes first. Republicans and also some Democrats believe it is possible to rule by presidential order, but we are a democracy, not a dictatorship, and we need consensus, Biden said.
Biden was asked by the host what it will mean if he loses the presidential election against Trump on November 3.
– It may mean that I am a bad candidate, and that I did not do a good job, said Biden and continued:
– I hope it does not mean that we are as divided by race, ethnicity and religion, as it may look like the president wants us to be.
Towards the end, Biden was asked if he would demand that Trump take a coronation test before the next presidential debate next week.
– Yes, it’s about decency. And honestly, I’m more worried about the camera people than I am about myself. I reckon that the organizer will not repeat the mistakes of the previous debate. I plan to be there, he says.