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Takeaways from Biden's Town Hall Last Night

What Happened:

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and President Trump both hosted competing town halls Thursday evening. The two candidates are scheduled for a second and final debate next week in Nashville. Here are some of the key takeaways from Biden's town hall.

Biden's Town Hall on ABC:

The moderator for Biden's Town Hall was George Stephanopoulos. Contrary to Trump's town hall, the tone of Biden's town hall was friendly between the moderator and Biden.

On the Supreme Court and "Packing the Court":

  • When asked whether he would "pack" the Supreme Court, Biden once again avoided answering the question directly and said "I'm still not a fan" of expanding the court, but that his ultimate decision would depend on how the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett is handled and whether Senate Republicans would rush to confirm her before the election in November.

  • Biden did vow to give a response to the question before election day "depending on how they handle this." The implication being he would give a response if Barrett is confirmed before the election.

On the 1994 Crime Bill:

  • Biden drafted and voted for a 1994 crime bill that included money for more prisons, expanded the use of the federal death penalty and called for a mandatory life sentence for three-time violent offenders – the so-called three strikes provision.

  • When questioned about the bill, Biden said that the "bill itself did not have mandatory sentences, except for two things, it had three strikes and you’re out, which I voted against in the crime bill." This is a little misleading, Biden did call the three-strikes rule "wacko" at one point, even as he was helping draft the bill, but he did still vote for the legislation.

On Covid-19:

  • Biden criticized the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic saying it was at fault for closing the Pandemic Response Office that was established under the Obama administration.

  • Biden also said Trump was more concerned with the stock market than with the pandemic and that if he were elected, he would lean on governors, mayors, etc. to mandate mask wearing.

On Trump's Foreign Policy:

  • In response to a voter question on whether Trump deserves credit for brokering peace through some of his foreign policies, Biden said Trump deserves a "little credit" for his work in the middle east, but criticized Trump's "America first" policy.

  • Said Biden, "'America first' has made 'America alone'" and that the US has never been more isolated than it is now.

  • Biden continued, "I do compliment the president on the deal with Israel...But if you take a look, we’re not very well trusted around the world." He added, "This president embraces all the thugs in the world," criticizing Trump's relationships with foreign dictators.

On Fracking:

  • Biden reiterated that he did not support banning fracking, but emphasized that it must be handled safely.

  • Biden added that we need to pursue other renewable energy sources as well.

On the LGBTQ community:

  • One voter, after stating that the Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscrimination protections and even removing the word 'transgender' from some government websites, asked Biden "How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?"

  • "I will flat out just change the law," Biden responded. 

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