US Election: Donald Trump takes on Joe Biden in the final Presidential debate

Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden are going head-to-head in the final presidential debate on Friday.

The 2020 US election is now less than two weeks away, with Americans to take to voting booths on November 3.

Trump and Biden will be taking to the debate stage at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee for 90 minutes, from 2pm (NZ time).

NBC's White House correspondent and co-anchor of Weekend Today Kristen Welker is moderating and she announced her chosen debate topics earlier this week.

They are: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.

What you need to know:

Live updates:

4pm: Here are the key takeaways from the final presidential debate:

  • Trump claimed a vaccination for COVID-19 is "ready" and will be announced, "in weeks". Although he later admitted it was not guaranteed (2:08pm)
  • Trump said people are "learning to live with" COVID-19 but Biden hit back saying: "people are learning to die with it". (2:25pm)
  • Biden defended the business activities of his son Hunter, however quickly deflected the question, launching into an attack on Trump (2:42pm)
  • "No one has done more for the black community than Donald Trump, except maybe Abraham Lincoln," Trump claimed. (3:20pm)
  • The debate was much more civilised than the first presidential debate. The mute button allowed each candidate to speak uninterrupted and allowed the debate to flow much better
  • The election is set to take place on November 3, here's what you need to know.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden embrace after the final presidential debate against US President Donald Trump at Belmont University.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden embrace after the final presidential debate against US President Donald Trump at Belmont University. Photo credit: Getty
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on stage after the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on stage after the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Photo credit: Getty

3:38pm: The final presidential debate has now finished, with Trump and Biden meeting up with their families before leaving the stage. Welker thanked viewers and reminded them of the election coming up on November 3.

Kristen Welker.
Kristen Welker. Photo credit: Getty

3:35pm: With just a couple minutes left, the debate shifted to climate change.

Biden hit out at Trump for his past comments about wind energy where he claimed it could cause cancer.

But Trump replied: "I know more about wind than you do".

"It's very expensive. It kills the birds," he said.

The US President again claimed Biden would ban fracking, despite him assuring voters that he had no plans to.

Biden challenged Trump to find the tape where he said it and "put it on your website".

He said America needs to focus on expanding sources of renewable energy and transition from the oil industry.

Biden confirmed if elected, he would rejoin the Paris Accord, which Trump pulled the United States out of.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22:  Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the final presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

3:25pm: Trump called Biden a "corrupt politician" and claimed to be the least racist person in the debate room on Friday night,

"I am the least racist person I don't care who's in the audience I'm the least racist person in this room," he said.

But Biden said Abraham Lincoln, who Trump said was not racist, was "the most racist President we've had in history".

“He pours fuel on every single racist fire,” Biden said of Trump. "This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn".

3:20pm: Welker moved the conversation onto Race in America, as the debate enters the final 10 minutes.

"No one has done more for the black community than Donald Trump, except maybe Abraham Lincoln," Trump claimed.

He later went on to say that Biden's time as vice president under Barack Obama's administration was the reason he decided to run for President in 2016.

"I ran because of you, because you did a bad job," Trump told Biden.

"If you did a good job I never would have ran."

In response, Biden looked down the barrel of the camera at the millions of viewers watching the debate.

"You know his character you know my character," he said.

3:15pm: The debate moved to focus on immigration in the United States, particularly regarding Trump's border wall.

Trump claimed the children coming into the US are brought over by "coyotes and cartels".

Biden slammed him saying "coyotes didn't bring them over, their parents did".

He also criticised the Trump campaign for separating the children from their parents at the border.

"Kids were ripped from parents arms and separated," he said.

"It's criminal, it's criminal."

But Trump argued they were "so well taken care of" and blamed the Obama administration, of which Biden was vice president, for creating cages at border facilities.

"We got rid of a lot of horrible things that they put in... who built the cages?"

3:08pm: On the topic of the minimum wage, Biden said he supported raising it to $15 countrywide.

"Some people are earning $7, $8 an hour.. emergency services ...they deserve a minimum wage," Biden said.

Trump agreed on the increase but said it should be up to each state to implement it so that it doesn't hurt small businesses.

3:06pm: NBC News reports Biden and Trump have already attacked each other more than 120 times combined.

Biden's attacked the US president 62 times, and made 10 interruptions.

Trump's attacked Biden 61 times and made 3 interruptions.

3:04pm: Trump accused Biden of supporting "socialised medicine" but Biden hit back saying the US President must be confused about who he was running against.

"He's a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else," Biden said. "He's running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them."

2:59pm: Trump has predicted that the Republicans would win the House in the November 3 election.

2:57pm: The debate is now onto the third topic: American families and healthcare.

Trump said he hoped the Supreme Court would dismantle Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

"I'd like to terminate Obamacare and come up with better healthcare," he said.

Trump confirmed he will "always" protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

During his segment, Biden said he supports private insurance and under his Administration, not a single person would lose their private insurance.

"The idea that I want to eliminate policies ... I support private insurance - not one single person would lose their insurance under my plan.

"There's no way [Trump] can protect pre-existing conditions."

He said if elected President he will create a public option: "Make it Bidencare".

"Everyone should have the right to have affordable healthcare."

2:42pm: Biden has defended his son Hunter Biden's business activities in Ukraine which have recently come under scrutiny.

"Not one thing was out of line," Biden replied to questioning from Welker.

However, he then deflected the question back onto Trump.

"The guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy - trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me."

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

2:35pm: The debate has moved onto National Security, specifically how the FBI announced on Thursday that Russia and Iran had been attempting to interfere with the US election.

Biden said he will make sure "they will pay a price" and questioned why Trump isn't willing to take on Putin.

"Why isn't that being done? Any country that interferes with us will pay a price because they are interesting with US sovereignty."

But Trump hit back that he doesn't get any money from Russia, and claimed: "nobody has been tougher than me on Russia".

"They were paying you [Biden] a lot of money and they probably still are."

He claimed to have seen emails showing large amounts of money being paid to Biden from Russia.

But Biden said he had "never taken a penny from any country whatsoever".

"This is a President, I have released all of my tax returns but you [Trump] have not revealed any," Biden said.

"What's going on? Release your tax returns!"

Trump said he would release them as soon as he can and claimed to have pre-paid his tax.

"I prepaid millions, and millions of dollars."

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

2:25pm: Trump said people are "learning to live with" COVID-19.  

"We can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does...people can't do that," he said.

But Biden hit back that "people are learning to die with it".

2:23pm: Trump has claimed that Biden criticised his decision to close the border to China due to the COVID-19 pandemic as "xenophobic".

However, the Democratic nominee denied the claim saying he never said it.

"He is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China," Biden said.

2:20pm: The debate so far is much calmer and free-flowing than the first debate with the implementation of the mute button.

While the candidates are still criticising each other, they are no longer speaking over each other.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22:  Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the final presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

2:13pm: However, Biden responded to Trump's COVID-19 claims saying Trump doesn't have a plan.

Biden said if he is elected President of the US, he will: 

  • Make sure everyone wears face masks
  • Invest in rapid testing for COVID-19
  • He will create national standards in how to open up schools and give them the financial resources to achieve this

"I will take care of this, I will end this, I will make sure we have a plan."

2:08pm: The debate has kicked off and is starting with the topic of Fighting COVID-19. Welker has asked the candidates how they will handle the pandemic going forward. 

Trump said a vaccine is "ready" and will be announced: "in weeks". He said the military will distribute it. 

He has also referenced his time at Walter Reed with hospital when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early October.

He said COVID-19 is "turning a corner and going away".

However, he later said the vaccine isn't guarranteed.

"No, it’s not a guarantee, but I think it will be by the end of the year."

Welker followed up, saying experts have said it could take months before a vaccine is widely avaliable.

"I think my timeline is going to be more accurate," Trump replied.

2:05pm: NBC News' Kristen Welker has welcomed viewers and is now introducing the candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden to the stage.

President Trump's daughters White House advisor Ivanka Trump (R) and Tiffany Trump arrive at the final presidential between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
President Trump's daughters White House advisor Ivanka Trump (R) and Tiffany Trump arrive at the final presidential between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo credit: Getty

1:50pm: There are 10 minutes to go before the final US debate begins and Trump and Biden have both arrived at the venue.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Where? Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Who's moderating? NBC's White House correspondent and co-anchor of Weekend Today Kristen Welker
  • How will it work? The debate will consist of six 15 minute segments each focusing on a topic. There will be no ad breaks
  • What are the topics? Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.
 Kid Rock puts on a face mask at the final presidential debate.
Kid Rock puts on a face mask at the final presidential debate. Photo credit: Getty

1:35pm: The US President has reportedly invited Tony Bobulinskione of Hunter Biden's former business associates, as a guest to Friday's debate.

Before the debate, Bobulinski told reporters that Joe Biden had been involved in Hunter's foreign business activities, The Guardian reported.

"I've heard Joe Biden say that he’s never discussed this with Hunter. That is false," he said. 

"I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden."

However, the Biden campaign has denied the claims, saying the Democratic nominee has not been involved in Hunter's business.

1:30pm: Donald Trump is expected to press Joe Biden about the scandal relating to alleged foreign government emails written by his son Hunter Biden.

The New York Post claimed the emails show how Hunter helped to arrange a meeting between Joe Biden and an executive at a Ukrainian energy company.

In a tweet on Monday, Donald Trump called the emails "major corruption."

"Joe Biden is a corrupt politician, and everybody knows it. Now you have the proof, perhaps like never was had before on a major politician. Laptop plus. This is the second biggest political scandal in our history!"

US political commentator Danielle McLaughlin spoke to The AM Show on Friday and said she expects Trump to bring up the emails during the debate, despite it not being one of the topics.

"As we saw with the vice presidential debate when Vice president Mike Pence challenged Kamala Harris on court-packing or expanding the supreme court," she said.

"I don't think there is any doubt Donald Trump is going to use his time, probably in response to something entirely unrelated, to go after Joe Biden, to ask about this laptop, to ask about the emails, and to ask about the alleged and undue influence that Hunter Biden is supposed to have utilised."

Read more about McLaughlin's interview here.

1:25pm: Trump and Biden are due to arrive shortly at Belmont University, BBC reports.

There are less than 40 minutes before the candidates take to the stage and try to convince Americans to vote for them.

1:20pm: US astronaut Kate Rubins voted from the International Space Station on Friday.

Rubins is currently on a six-month mission and took part in her second vote from space - her first was for the 2016 election.

NASA described it as a type of absentee voting, with Rubins sent a secure electronic ballot.

The astronauts then cast their votes and send it back to a clerk's office in Houston, Texas to be counted.

1:05pm: On Friday morning Trump released an unedited version of an interview he did with 60 Minutes, breaking their contract.

Tthe interview was set to air on Sunday, alongside interviews with Biden, his running mate Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.

The US President later tweeted that he thought 60 Minutes showed "bias, hatred and rudeness" during the interview.

Read more about the incident here.

A view of the Curb Event Center on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday in preparation for the debate.
A view of the Curb Event Center on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday in preparation for the debate. Photo credit: Getty

12:50pm: There's less than two weeks to go before Americans vote for their next President on November 3.

The US political system differs from New Zealand's where the party with the most votes is elected into Government.

Instead in the United States, they use the electoral college voting system where Trump and Biden compete to win states, who pledge their electoral votes to a candidate.

Find out more about the electoral college system and what you need to know for the US election here.

12:40pm: The debate is set to feature a mute button on the candidate's microphones.

The Presidential Commission on Debates announced the change on Tuesday after Trump and Biden continuously talked over each other, and moderator Chris Wallace, during the first debate.

"I think they had expected that a moderator stepping in and announcing that time is up or asking someone not to interrupt would be effective - it was not," said Mark Lukasiewicz, a debate producer for NBC. 

"And so the commission has equipped itself with another tool to enforce that rule."

The mute button will be implemented during the candidate's opening remarks where they have 2 minutes to respond to the topic question uninterrupted.

A representative from the commission will control the mute button backstage and a member of each campaign will monitor that individual.

12:25pm: The plexiglass screens which had been stationed between the candidates' lecterns have been removed.

Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf Jr told NBC News that the decision was made after Trump and Biden both tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday.

The HC changed their recommendation that the barriers were necessary and both campaigns reportedly agreed to their removal.

The debate stage is being set up in Tennessee.
The debate stage is being set up in Tennessee. Photo credit: Getty
The plexiglass screens were originally put in place on Wednesday.
The plexiglass screens were originally put in place on Wednesday. Photo credit: Getty

12:10pm: Donald Trump and Joe Biden are on their way to Nashville, Tennessee for Friday's debate. 

The US President left the White House with his wife Melania by helicopter as supporters cheered from below.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden addressed reporters at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware.

Wearing a face mask, he waved to supporters as he boarded his campaign plane.

Donald Trump departs from the White House.
Donald Trump departs from the White House. Photo credit: Getty
Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they leave the White House for Friday's debate.
Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they leave the White House for Friday's debate. Photo credit: Getty
The Biden campaign plane takes off for Tennessee.
The Biden campaign plane takes off for Tennessee. Photo credit: Getty
Biden boards his campaign plane.
Biden boards his campaign plane. Photo credit: Getty
Joe Biden arrives at the airport.
Joe Biden arrives at the airport. Photo credit: Getty