The Debate Countdown: Abraham Lincoln, Trump's jokes and oil


There are 11 days left and there was an actual debate.

Joe Biden called Donald Trump Abraham Lincoln - but he wasn't being serious. Donald Trump didn't get the joke but he does usually make plenty of his own.

The debate in four sentences

Media caption,
What you missed - the best bits from Trump and Biden's final debate

1. It was a real debate about issues that touch people's lives as Donald Trump and Joe Biden argued over climate change, Covid-19, tax and racism and you can read our voters' panel to find out if they did enough to decide the undecideds.

2. "C'mon! " was Joe Biden's catchphrase of the night and he said it nine times in disbelief, especially when Mr Trump said the virus was going away - you can read more in our fact-check of the debate.

3. When Joe Biden said he wanted to rely less on oil, Mr Trump pounced: "Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?" - and Oklahoma's Democratic candidate for Congress tweeted that she disagreed with Mr Biden.

4.. "By the way, so far, I respect very much the way you're handling this. I have to say," Mr Trump told Kristen Welker, the second black woman to host a presidential debate, and many agreed she came out with a win.

Image source, Reuters

Abraham Lincoln got in on the joke


Donald Trump repeated his claim that he has done more for black people than any other American president with the possible exception of Lincoln, the man who abolished slavery.

Joe Biden found that hard to take, and with a mouth full of sarcasm said: "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history."

He then criticised Mr Trump's rhetoric and failure to condemn far-right groups.

When asked to respond, Mr Trump looked confused: "He made a reference to Abraham Lincoln, where did that come in?" he said. He eventually clarified: "I didn't say 'I'm Abraham Lincoln,' I said, 'Not since Abraham Lincoln'."

If there was a viral moment in this otherwise routine debate, this was it, as people found it hard to know whether Mr Trump took Mr Biden's sarcasm literally.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Trump brings (Republican) Lincoln up a lot. He justifies it by citing his own record on criminal justice reform and the economy, but critics will point to Lyndon B Johnson, for example, who was president in the 1960s and a Democrat, and signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

Trump also tells jokes

Image source, Anadolu Agency

None of this means that Mr Trump does not enjoy a joke himself. His rallies have been filled with quasi-stand-up routines, telling knowing anecdotes about the liberal worldview, which his audience loves.

This Vox piece puts him in the tradition of the "insult comedian", with his nicknames for rivals like Sleepy Joe and Crooked Hillary. We have this video asking comedians if he would make a good comedian.

He has often accused the media of not appreciating his sense of humour. But there is another side, too, as some commentators argue he defends ambiguous comments as jokes. One CNN reporter points out that Mr Trump was not "kidding" (as he said he was last night) when he suggested injecting bleach to fight the virus.