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6 takeaways from Trump-Biden debate

Trump bullied, bulldozed and obfuscated his way through the 90-minute showdown, interrupting Biden a..

Trump bullied, bulldozed and obfuscated his way through the 90-minute showdown, interrupting Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News at every turn. He ignored substantive questions and Biden's policy arguments, and instead swung at a straw-man version of Biden, taking aim at both Biden's son and a distorted description of his record that exists primarily in far-right media. Over Trump's interruptions, Biden responded by mocking the President, calling him a "clown," a "racist" and "the worst president America has ever had." He criticized Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his failure to produce a health care plan and his response to protests over racial injustice. Over and over, Wallace tried to regain control of the debate, without success.When Trump complained that only he was being chastised for talking over questions and Biden's answers, Wallace shot back: "Frankly, you have been doing more interrupting."Trump, who has trailed Biden in national and swing-state polls, made little effort to reach out to voters who do not currently support him. He could have further damaged his standing by refusing to condemn White supremacists after being asked to do so multiple times. Here are six takeaways from the first of three presidential debates:

Trump doesn't condemn White supremacists

Repeatedly and directly, Biden called Trump racist."This is a President who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division," the former vice president said. During a portion of the debate that focused on race relations, protests, violence and policing, Trump tried to latch Biden to the violent and destructive elements of this summer's protests over the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and others, even as Biden condemned violence. Trump also claimed that America's suburbs — which have tilted in Democrats' favor during his tenure — would be "gone" if Biden is elected. "He wouldn't know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn," Biden shot back, adding that "this is not 1950" and Trump's dog whistles "don't work anymore." He said Trump's handling of the pandemic and the climate have damaged the suburbs.The section ended with Trump flatly refusing to condemn White supremacy when asked to do so by Wallace and Biden. "Stand back and stand by," he said to the white supremacist militia group Proud Boys, in a moment reminiscent of his response to White supremacists' march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. "The commander in chief refused to condemn White supremacy on the global stage in front of my children, in front of everybody's families, and he was given the opportunity multiple times to condemn White supremacy and he gave a wink and a nod to a racist, Nazi, murderous organization," said Van Jones, the CNN political commentator."That's the only thing that happened tonight," he said. "That's what happened tonight."

Disputing the election

Amid unleashing a barrage of misinformation and falsehoods about mail-in voting, Trump failed to affirm the one thing he was asked about it: whether he would encourage his supporters to be peaceful if election results are unclear."I'm encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully," Trump said when asked what he would tell his followers in a post-November 3 world.After issuing his usual falsehoods about widespread fraudulent voting — albeit in front of a newly massive audience and without an ounce of fact-checking from the moderator — Trump declared he wouldn't support a result under certain circumstances."If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that," Trump said.It was an answer that will do little to calm fears of post-election chaos.For his part, Biden insisted that if Americans vote in large numbers — presumably for him — a contested election could be prevented.

Anything but coronavirus

If Trump has an overriding strategy in the final days of the campaign, it is to divert attention from the coronavirus pandemic, which voters say in polls that he has badly mismanaged. It has been evident for months Trump is eager to move on.And if his goal Tuesday was to obscure his coronavirus record, Trump may have been successful. Despite Biden's attempts to inject it back into the discussion periodically, the debate devolved into arguments and bickering that ultimately did not center on the global pandemic, which has now killed 1 million people.Trump openly said the vaccine process is political, mocked Biden for wearing a mask and instead of a robust defense of his record he sought to claim a hypothetical President Biden would have done worse. The scaled-down audience and lack of a handshake also brought the health crisis into the debate hall atmospherics. And Biden made multiple references to the 200,000 Americans who have died.But ultimately the debate was not about the pandemic. It was about Trump's belligerence, which in his view can only be considered a positive.

Taking over — and talking over — the Supreme Court

The dominant issue on Capitol Hill right now is Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while the debate opened with questions about the high court, the details were largely lost amid the chaos, as Trump interrupted Biden's answers and Wallace struggled to rein in a debate that was devolving into disarray from its opening moments.Biden attempted to turn the discussion into one over health care, pointing to the potential for a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority to overturn the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for those with preexisting conditions, and undo Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion nationally. Trump tried to pin Biden down on progressive proposals to end the Senate's filibuster and expand the Supreme Court. "Why wouldn't you answer that question?" Trump said. None of those substantive differences really broke through, though, as Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and the moderator and the two candidates talked over each Read More – Source



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Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.

Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.

Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.

Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January, although the opposition-dominated Senate could delay the process.

But demonstrators on Saturday accused the government of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.

Others targeted their anger at the president, Emmanuel Macron, over comments he made earlier this week in relation to unvaccinated citizens, telling Le Parisian newspaper that he wanted to “piss them off”.

One protester, hospital administrator Virginie Houget, told the Reuters news agency that Mr Macron’s remarks were “the last straw”.

And in Paris, where some 18,000 people marched against the new law, demonstrators responded to his coarse language by chanting: “We’ll piss you off”.

TV images showed altercations between protesters and police turning violent in some places. In Montpellier officers used teargas during clashes with the demonstrators.

Turnout for the protests was estimated to be about four times higher than the last major demonstrations on 18 December, when some 25,500 people marched across the country.

But despite the vocal protests, opposition to the new measures is not widespread and recent polling suggests the vast majority of people back the vaccine pass.

France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, new coronavirus infections are rising rapidly across France as the new Omicron variant takes hold.

The country recorded more than 300,000 new cases for the second time in a week on Friday and admissions to intensive care wards are rising steadily, putting healthcare systems under strain.

Some hospitals have reported that some 85% of ICU patients are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of t..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".

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Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

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Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24
This Friday..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.

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Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

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Our guests

  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

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