Biden, Trump joust about money, COVID-19 at separate town halls

Talk about social distancing — Biden, Trump hold forth on separate networks and 5.28 million feet apart

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WKBT) — Democrat Joe Biden says he doesn’t plan to eliminate all the tax cuts President Donald Trump has enacted — just those that apply to the top earners.

VpReferencing tax cuts for the top 1%, Biden said during an ABC town hall Thursday: “That’s what I’m talking about eliminating, not all the tax cuts that are out there.”

Biden’s comments came as he and Trump put a new spin on physical distancing, as the president answered questions at an NBC town hall more than 1,000 miles — that’s more than 5,280,000 million feet, if you’re keeping track — away, in Miami. They had been scheduled to square off in person during the campaign’s second debate until the Presidential Election Commission proffered the idea of a virtual debate because of COVID-19.
The president refused to participate in a virtual joust, so the candidates parted ways and scheduled competing town halls.
In Philadelphia, Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s “a president’s responsibility to lead” and Trump “didn’t do that,” Biden said.
Trump focused too exclusively on the stock market while downplaying how the virus spread and threatened both Americans’ health and the economy on the ground, Biden insisted.
When the topic of wearing face masks to thwart the spread of COVID-19 arose at Trump’s town hall, he claimed — without evidence — that people who wear face masks are getting infected with the coronavirus “all the time.”
During the vice presidential debate last week, Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, said Biden would repeal the tax bill passed by Congress and signed by Trump “on day one.″
Harris also said that Biden wouldn’t raise taxes on people making less than $400,000. Vice President Mike Pence pointed out repealing the entire tax bill would eliminate tax cuts for lower earners.
Biden says raising taxes on corporations and high-income earners would bring in a lot of money to invest in programs that can “make your life easier.”
In Miami, debate moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the president about a large White House gathering Sept. 26 that is believed to be a source of coronavirus infections in many people who attended. Most guests didn’t wear masks.
Trump, who subsequently contracted COVID-19, along with first Lady Melania, responded that he’s “good with masks,” although he rarely wears one himself.
The director to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said wearing a mask is the best way to prevent infection, short of a vaccine that is still in development.
Also Thursday, Trump acknowledged that he may owe $400 million as part of his business dealings, but he’s not saying to whom he owes money.
Ppressed on a New York Times report citing tax returns showing he has business debts exceeding $400 million, the president insisted that he doesn’t owe any money to Russia or any “sinister people.”
He described his debts as a “very, very small percentage,” adding, “$400 million is a peanut.”
The president suggested repeatedly Thursday night that he would be willing to release details about his debts, but it’s unclear when that might happen. He again repeated his refusal to release his tax returns more than four years after he first promised he would.
Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, the final such meeting before the Nov. 3 election.