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For lack of an in-person presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden simultaneously appeared on two different television shows Thursday night. The subject of the coronavirus pandemic unsurprisingly returned to the table, while Donald Trump was questioned about his refusal to condemn the conspiratorial movement QAnon.

Within three weeks of the presidential election in the United States, Democratic candidate Joe Biden criticized Donald Trump on Thursday, October 15 for providing a “panicked” response to the coronavirus epidemic. The Republican President for his part defended his management of the health crisis which has caused more than 216,000 deaths in the country.

The two rivals spoke simultaneously on two separate television shows after the debate initially scheduled for that date was called off, following Donald Trump’s infection with the coronavirus.

Joe Biden criticized the outgoing president for covering up the deadly danger posed by the coronavirus. “He said he didn’t tell anyone because he was afraid the Americans would panic,” the former vice president said on the ABC broadcast from Philadelphia, PA. “Americans are not panicking. He panicked,” he added.

Joe Biden: “The president has a responsibility to lead and he hasn’t”

Donald Trump defended for his part both his management of the epidemic and his personal behavior, in particular his choice to organize an event in the gardens of the White House at the end of September during which few were the people equipped with a mask or respecting social distancing – resulting in several cases of contamination reported among participants.

“Different versions” on the effectiveness of masks

“Hey, I’m the president – I have to see people, I can’t stay in a basement,” he told NBC to an audience gathered outside in Miami, Fla., Implicitly criticizing his Democratic rival for having confined himself to his home for several months as the pandemic raged.

Donald Trump did not answer questions on the date on which he tested negative for the coronavirus for the last time before being infected, explaining that he did not remember precisely.

The Republican president has quarreled frequently with NBC moderator Samantha Guthrie. He said he had heard “different stories” about the effectiveness of protective masks, although health experts in his own administration have said in the past that it was a key way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Covid-19: Donald Trump questions the effectiveness of the mask

Pressed by the journalist for condemned the conspiracy movement QAnon, Donald Trump kicked in touch. “I don’t know anything about QAnon,” he said before assuring that he agreed with their positions “against pedophilia”.

Advance polls break records

The final presidential debate is due to take place in a week, on October 22, in Nashville, Tennessee. The latest opinion poll conducted by Reuters / Ipsos shows Joe Biden has a clear lead over Donald Trump in national voting intentions, but the Democratic candidate’s margin is less pronounced in the decisive states.

In North Carolina, a hotly contested state, long lines were seen throughout the day as polling stations opened early. Earlier in the week, voters also flocked to advance polls in Georgia and Texas.

More than 18 million Americans have already sent in their ballots, either in person or by mail, according to Elections Project, a group based at the University of Florida that lists data on early voting. This is a record and a number equivalent to nearly 13% of the total number of ballots counted in 2016.

Voters are looking to avoid massive rallies on November 3 amid the coronavirus. They also intend to ensure that their ballot will be taken into account, many of them fearing that Donald Trump will challenge the legality of postal votes, which he considers unfounded conducive to fraud.

With Reuters

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