Racial tensions in America topic in final Trump, Biden presidential debate

Presidential Debates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — A summer of tensions and unrest in America regarding race became a key topic in the final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden.

With the election less than two weeks away, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, the topic of police reform and unrest in cities across the country, remains an issue for some voters.

Tension boiled over into demonstrations this summer, following the May 25death of Floyd.

Floyd, who was Black, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was in handcuffs as police tried to arrest him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. Floyd’s death was captured on bystander video that set off protests around the world.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter; Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Earlier this month, hours of grand jury proceedings were made public in the case of Taylor’s fatal shooting by police, a rare release of such material.

The jury brought no criminal charges against the officers for her killing, angering many in Louisville and around the country and setting off renewed protests.

President Trump and former vice president Biden previously debated how to handle the growing divide and national unrest.

The far-right group Proud Boys, known for its street violence, were brought up in the last debate. President Trump declined to denounce such groups, saying instead “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” 

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition, because I don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” Trump said the next day. “I’ve always denounced any form, any form, any form of any of that. You have to denounce it.” 

The president later condemned all white supremacists on Fox News.

Watch this section of the debate in the player above.

This is one of six topics planned for Thursday’s debate, including Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security and Leadership.

The debate will feature six 15-minute segments with two-minutes of uninterrupted opening statements.  During the two-minute period, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will mute the microphone of the candidate who is not supposed to speak.

The open discussion portion, which counts for the other 11 minutes of each segment, will not feature a mic-muting option, though the commission noted that “time taken up during any interruptions will be returned to the other candidate.”

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the rule changes Monday in an effort to combat frequent interruptions seen in the first debate. In a statement, the commission said it “had determined that it is appropriate to adopt measures intended to promote adherence to agreed-upon rules and inappropriate to make changes to those rules.”

NewsNation provided unedited sections of the debate all night, so you can see what both sides said.

For more election coverage, tune in to NewsNation and download the NewsNation Now app.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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