Nine days before Election Day, President Trump and Joseph R Biden Jr. provided sharply differing visions of the country – including the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and foreign policy – in wide-ranging interviews on the show 60 Minutes.
In terms of substance and behavior, the two presidential candidates cut strikingly different personalities during one of the last big opportunities to reach a national television audience during the campaign.
Mr. Trump was bellicose and boisterous during his interview with “60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl, and he insisted, as he has repeatedly done in recent days despite the rise in coronavirus cases, that the country is “approaching the corner” about the pandemic.
“We did a very, very good job,” he once said, falsely arguing that the increase in cases was because we were “doing a lot of testing”.
Speaking at a time when the family, business and government finances have been hit by the pandemic, the president also painted a rosy picture of the country’s economy, which he said is “The roar is already back.” After pressuring him to set his biggest domestic priorities, Mr. Trump replied that it was “getting back to normal” and “for the economy to be raging, to be cool at jobs and everyone happy.”
But perhaps the biggest title that came out of his interview was his behavior. As his anger at the interrogation grew, he cut short the interview with Mrs. Stahl, then mocked her on Twitter and posted a 38-minute clip of the interview on Facebook.
Mr Trump tweeted Thursday with a link to the clip: “Look at prejudice, hate and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS.”
Mr. Biden, for his part, was more accurate in his interview with Norah O’Donnell of CBS News.
But Mr. Biden was direct in his criticism of Mr. Trump. When asked about the biggest domestic problem facing the country, he answered “Covid”.
Of Mr. Trump, he said: “The way he deals with Covid is totally irresponsible.”
As he has done before, he has also rejected Mr. Trump and the Republicans’ proposal that it be a “Trojan horse” for the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Mr. President, you are running Joe Biden. He said that Joe Biden has had a deep, sharp and successful record over a long, long period.
When asked whether Mr. Trump could still win the election, Biden said he could.
“It is not over until the bell rings,” he said, saying that Mr. Trump could win because of “the way he plays.” He added that Mr. Trump is “trying to kind of delegitimize the elections” in a way “designed to make people question whether or not they should – whether it is worth voting.”
Biden’s answers were the most informative on the Supreme Court. When asked whether he would increase the number of judges in the nation’s highest court if elected – a question he has faced repeatedly since Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last month – Biden provided his clearest answer weeks ago, saying he would. Create a bipartisan commission of scholars to study potential reform of the court system.
“I will ask them, over the course of 180 days, to come back to me with recommendations on how to reform the court system because it is out of control,” Mr. Biden said.
On “60 Minutes,” the episode continued its tradition by interviewing the main candidates for the presidency of the United States before the presidential election. It also included interviews with Vice President Mike Pence, Vice President Trump, and Senator Kamala Harris, Vice President Biden.
The interviews were broadcast on a day when the candidates had very different schedules, reflecting their different approach to campaigning during the pandemic.
Trump swung across New England, addressing a crowd at an airport hangar in New Hampshire and then visiting an apple orchard in Maine. He attacked Mr. Biden’s economic proposals, which he described as “a missile aimed at the heart of the middle class”.
Mr. Biden did not hold any events that personally carried him on Sunday, even though he went to church near his Delaware home. On Sunday evening, he and his wife, Jill, appeared briefly during a virtual party held by his campaign, which included performances from a long list of artists, including Sarah Barriles, John Bon Jovi, Cher and John Legend. Mr. Biden stressed the importance of the elections and told the party hosts, referring to the list of star-studded stars, “You make us heroes with our granddaughters.”
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