Fact checking the final presidential debate

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off in the final debate of the 2020 presidential race at Belmont University in Nashville Thursday night, just 12 days before the election. Yahoo News provided live analysis and fact checking of claims made by the candidates in real time.

See below for a complete recap:

Live Updates
  • Rebecca Corey

    The latest:

    • President Trump and Joe Biden faced off in Nashville during the final 2020 presidential debate, with early and mail-in voting already underway across the country.

    • The debate was moderated by NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker, who managed to keep candidates on topic, unlike the first off-the-rails presidential debate. "So far, I respect very much the way you're handling this, I have to say," Trump said to Welker at one point.

    • Trump and Biden disagreed over how the coronavirus pandemic would play out in the United States in the coming months. Biden warned of a "dark winter" while Trump said the country is "rounding the turn."

    • The candidates also sparred over differing approaches to combating COVID-19, with Trump saying "we can't close up our nation," and Biden asserting that "anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president."

    • Trump singled out New York City, calling it a "ghost town," while Biden pointed out that red states are having increasing coronavirus cases.

    • During a discussion about health care, Trump suggested that Biden endorsed a single-payer system that would provide government-funded insurance for all Americans. “He’s a very confused guy," Biden said. “He thinks he’s running against somebody else." Biden insisted that his plan would leave private insurance alone.

    • At another point, Trump said that he was the “least racist person” in the room while talking about race and Black Lives Matter.

  • Rebecca Corey
  • Dylan Stableford

    Claim: Trump says Biden wanted to ban fracking

    Fact check: President Trump accused Joe Biden of flip-flopping on the issue of fracking, short for “hydraulic fracturing,” a drilling technique that uses high-pressure water to access natural gas and oil reserves underground.

    “I have never said I opposed fracking,” Biden said.

    “He was against fracking,” Trump replied.

    During the Democratic primary, Biden stood out as one of the few major candidates to argue against a ban on fracking. Biden has said he would ban new fracking on federal lands but allow existing fracking operations to continue. At the final Democratic primary debate, Biden said he was in favor of “no new fracking.” (His campaign later clarified that he was referring to federal lands and that his position had not changed.)

    During Thursday's debate, Biden reiterated that stance and challenged Trump to post a tape to his website to prove his claim.

    More broadly, though, Democrats, including Biden, want to transition away from fossil fuels by the middle of the century. The former vice president said the country needs to move responsibly toward zero emissions and "renewable energy over time."

  • Rebecca Corey
  • Rebecca Corey

    The candidates are joined on stage by their spouses, First Lady Melania Trump and former Second Lady Jill Biden, at the conclusion of the final presidential debate. (Getty Images)

  • Rebecca Corey

    Biden to Americans: 'You know who I am'

    (Associated Press)

    At one point in Thursday night's debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden looked at the camera to speak directly to the American public and draw a stark comparison between himself and President Trump.

    "You know who I am. You know who he is," Biden said. "You know his character. You know my character. You know our reputations for honor and telling the truth."

    "The character of the country is on the ballot," Biden added.

  • Rebecca Corey
  • Rebecca Corey

    Claim: Trump said a COVID-19 vaccine is 'going to be announced within weeks'

    Fact check: Trump again offered an overly optimistic assessment of when a vaccine for COVID-19 will be made available.

    "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," Trump said.

    The Food and Drug Administration released guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine makers, stating that the companies would need to track tens of thousands of study participants for at least two months to look for any possible safety issues before the agency would consider authorization.

    Given the timeline of when phase 3 clinical trials began, the new guidance indicates that the earliest a vaccine could possibly apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) would be the end of November.

    Last week, Pfizer said it was on track to have that data by the third week of November, and that it would not apply for an EUA before that point. However, the FDA would still need to review the data before granting an EUA.

    Kristen Welker, the debate moderator, asked whether the president's statement was a guarantee.

    "Yes, no, it's not a guarantee. It will be distributed by the end of the year," Trump said.

    Read more here.

    – NBC News