Joe Biden has renewed his attack on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during the final debate ahead of the presidential election on 3 November.
The Democratic candidate told the debate in Nashville, Tennessee: “Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America.
“He says we’re, you know, learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it.”
Mr Trump responded by saying: “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away,” adding that “we can’t close up our nation or we won’t have one”.
:: US Election 2020 – live updates from final presidential debate
The pair also clashed in the second section of the debate, on national security. They were both asked about news that and Iran and Russia have obtained US voter registration information in an attempt to interfere in the election.
Candidates on Russian interference in US election
Mr Biden said such countries “will pay a price if I’m elected” and claimed that Moscow does not want him elected because “I know them and they know me”.
Mr Trump alleged that Mr Biden received $3.5m from Russia, and insisted that “there’s been nobody tougher than me on Russia”.
He added: “You were getting a lot of money from Russia… you probably still are.”
Mr Biden responded: “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life.” He called on Mr Trump to release his tax returns or “stop talking about corruption”, with the Republican candidate claiming he was told he had “prepaid tens of millions of dollars” and that $750 in taxes he was claimed to have paid in 2017 was a “filing fee”.
Mr Trump raised the issue of Mr Biden’s son Hunter and claims he drew a large salary from a Ukrainian firm.
Mr Biden responded that the accusation had been investigated repeatedly and did not link him to any wrongdoing. He also pointed out that impeachment proceedings were started over the president’s attempt to pressure the president of Ukraine to find potentially damaging information on the Biden family.
Opinion polls show most Americans disapprove of Mr Trump’s response to the virus.
The final debate is one of the final opportunities for both candidates to make gains in a campaign dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 people in the US and devastated the economy.
Mr Biden leads Mr Trump by eight percentage points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll, conducted between 20 October and 22 October. That lead has narrowed slightly over the last few weeks.
The first segment of the debate was far more civil than when the candidates clashed in September, where Mr Trump made constant interruptions and exchanges of personal insults between the two men largely dominated the event.
Both candidate’s microphone was switched off this time while the opponent made a two-minute introductory statement on the six topics.