Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith reports on the dueling town halls held in lieu of a virtual presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden,
ADAM SHAPIRO: But we want to go to Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith to bring us the highlights, even some of the lowlights, from the town halls that were on competing networks yesterday. Jessica?
JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, Adam, it really was a unique situation to have the two candidates on different networks at the same time in separate town halls. As you know, they were supposed to be doing a virtual debate town hall, but then President Trump backed out of that, saying he did not want to do it virtually.
But let's start with Vice President Biden. He had a lot of long policy-heavy answers in the town hall last night. He said supporting parts of the 1994 crime bill was a mistake. He said that the US should think about making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, and of course he continued to criticize President Trump's handling of the pandemic.
Now George Stephanopoulos did--
- I'm open to considering what happens from that point on.
- You know, you've said so many times during the campaign, all through the course of your career, it's important to level with the American people.
- It is. But, George, if I-- if I say-- no matter what answer I gave you, if I say it, that's the headline tomorrow. It won't be about what's going on now-- the improper way they're proceeding.
JESSICA SMITH: So that was the question that Stephanopoulos really pressed Biden on. He has been dodging the question of whether or not he would support adding seats to the Supreme Court if he were to win the election. So again, he didn't answer that, but he did go on to say that he will give voters an answer before the election, though it's important to note that millions of people have already voted in this election.
Now, turning to the president's town hall over on NBC, Savannah Guthrie pressed President Trump on a slew of issues, but one moment that really stood out was on the topic of conspiracy theories. He refused to denounce QAnon, the false conspiracy theory about a deep-state cult of pedophiles run by Democrats. Then Guthrie asked him about his recent retweet of another conspiracy theory, that Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team Six killed to cover up the fake death of Osama bin Laden. Here's what the president had to say.
- Now why would you send a lie like that to you followers?
- I know nothing about it. Can I--
- You retweeted it.
- That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody--
- --and that was a retweet. I'll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.
- I don't get that. You're the president--
- I don't take a position.
- You're not like someone's crazy uncle--
- No, no, no, no.
- --who can just retweet whatever.
- That was a retweet, and I do a lot of retweets. And frankly, because the media is so fake and so corrupt, if I didn't have social media-- I don't call it Twitter, I call it social media-- I wouldn't be able to get the word out.
JESSICA SMITH: Now Guthrie also pushed President Trump on the state of stimulus negotiations. She was asking how Senate Republicans are going to get on board if there is an agreement between Mnuchin and Pelosi. President Trump says they aren't on board yet because he hasn't asked them to be yet. He says first they need to have the deal with Pelosi, and then Republicans will fall in line. We'll see if that's the case if there is an agreement here.
We did have Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say that he wouldn't put a roughly $2 trillion bill on the floor, and we know that Pelosi and Mnuchin today will share some information about the national testing strategy. Mnuchin said he would largely accept the Democrats' plan, but we'll see if Pelosi accepts some minor edits, as they're calling it at some point today. They did speak for about an hour and a half yesterday. So we'll again be looking for any sign of progress over the weekend.