Biden, Trump take voters’ questions at separate town halls

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(WDTN) – In lieu of the town hall debate originally planned for Thursday, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took questions from voters simultaneously on separate networks.

Trump and Biden each participated in town halls Thursday night, in Miami and Philadelphia, respectively.

The town hall debate scheduled for Thursday was canceled after the Commission on Presidential Debates made it a virtual event, and President Trump chose not to participate.

While appearing in the NBC News town hall, President Trump spoke about his experience with COVID-19, saying he no longer has symptoms and gets tested often but not every day.

As COVID-19 case numbers climb in most states, several voters asked Trump about the pandemic.

“GDP’s going through the roof,” Trump said when asked about economic recovery. “Jobs. Real estate. Houses. So many things are happening.”

Isabella Pena, an independent voter leaning toward supporting Biden, asked: “After contracting COVID-19 yourself, has your opinion changed on the importance of mask wearing?”

“No, because I was OK with the masks,” Trump replied. “I was good with it.”

In a town hall moderated by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden called for increased action from the federal government.

“You can open businesses and schools if in fact you provide them the guidance that they need as well as the money to be able to do it,” Biden said.

One voter asked Biden if he would mandate a coronavirus vaccine.

“It depends on the state of the nature of the vaccine when it comes out and how it’s being distributed,” Biden responded.

“There’s no substitute for a debate – a face-to-face debate,” said Marc Clauson, professor of history and law at Cedarville University.

Although voters didn’t get to see the debate originally planned for Thursday, Clauson said, he believes the town halls provided both candidates an important opportunity to impact the course of the race.

“Biden needs to be more responsive and specific,” Clauson said. “Trump needs to be a little bit more specific but especially calmer.”

Biden and Trump are set to meet October 22 in Nashville for the final presidential debate.

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