(The Center Square) – In a far less chaotic encounter than the first debate, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met Thursday night for the final presidential debate at Belmont University’s Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tenn.
The two candidates discussed personal conflicts, their political records, and the issues of racism, national security and COVID-19.
Toning down his signature, more raucous campaign demeanor in favor of a much more restrained approach, Trump shaped his arguments against Biden on the former vice president’s 44-year career in Washington.
“Why didn’t you do it four years ago?” Trump said. “You were vice president. You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do. … I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run.”
Throughout the debate, Biden directly addressed Americans at home, describing the struggles of many middle class Americans and his solutions for them. Biden framed his argument for the presidency on his character and Trump’s flaws.
“You know his character. You know my character,” Biden said. “You know our reputations for telling the truth. I am anxious to have this race. … Character and country is on the ballot.”
In a notable moment, Trump asked Biden to explain allegations he benefited financially from foreign business deals struck by his son, Hunter. The New York Post reported the allegations last week based on emails and data contained on a laptop and hard drive purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.
The former vice president has said attacks related to the laptop are part of a “smear campaign.” On Thursday morning, however, Tony Bobulinksi, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, released a statement verifying some of the communications.
Bobulinksi then attended the debate as a guest of Trump. Less than two hours before the debate began, Bobulinski addressed the White House press pool.
“I’ve heard Joe Biden say he never discussed business with Hunter. That is false,” Bobulinski said.
Bobulinski described the night he was introduced to Joe Biden. In an hour-long meeting, he discussed Biden’s history and the “family business plans with the Chinese,” with which Biden was “plainly familiar,” Bobulinski said.
Describing the resulting business deal, Bobulinski said he received an email saying that 10 percent of the equity would be “held by h for the big guy.”
“There’s no question that h stands for Hunter, big guy for his father, Joe Biden,” Bobulinski said.
Bobulinski said he has evidence corroborating his claims stored on three phones he used between 2015 and 2018, which he placed on a chair nearby while speaking to the press pool.
“Tomorrow, I will be meeting with the Senate committee members concerning this matter, and I will be providing the FBI the devices which contain the evidence corroborating what I have said,” Bobulinski said.
“Your son said we have to give 10% to the big man, what’s that about?” Trump asked Biden in the debate.
Biden said the allegations were false, responding that Hunter “has not made money in terms of … China.”
“I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life,” Biden said.
Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.