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How Trump, Biden compare on coronavirus, gun rights and other issues

President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, disagree on many of the issues facing the country. In this feature, the Review-Journal compared the two major-party candidates on a number of issues, from health care to gun rights to foreign policy.

President Donald Trump

Coronavirus and health care

— Signed $2 trillion CARES Act

— Created a Coronavirus Task Force to unify government response

— Signed economic relief and medical response packages

— Believes governors and mayors make decisions on measures to prevent spread

— Free tests

— Advocates in person classes at public schools

— Developed Operation Warp Speed for fast approval, manufacture and distribution of a vaccine

— Opposes a national mask mandate

— Promised a health care plan that still has not been released


— In 1999, said he was “very pro-choice,” but by 2016, he proclaimed he was “pro-life” and pledged to nominate only “pro-life judges” to the U.S. Supreme Court

— In January, became the first president to address the March for Life in person

— Withheld federal funds from family planning organizations that provide or refer women to abortion clinics

— Reinstated the “global gag rule” that withholds foreign aid to organizations that offer abortion services


— Endorsed by NRA

— Signed Fix NICS Act law in 2018 that strengthened background check system

— Says there is no political appetite for an assault-weapons ban

— In wake of Oct. 1, 2017, shooting in Las Vegas, signed executive order banning bump stocks


— Campaigned on pledge to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; more than 300 miles built

— Vowed to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that gave temporary legal status to qualified undocumented immigrants who came into the country as minors

— In September 2017, terminated DACA, but was overturned by the Supreme Court in July

— Opposes sanctuary cities, has threatened to withhold federal funding from them

— Imposed policy that denies green cards to non-citizens likely to become “public charges”

Foreign policy

— As a candidate, promised to avoid “endless wars” and withdraw U.S. troops from global hot spots

— Recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel and moved U.S. embassy there

— Canceled the Trans Pacific Partnership

— Replaced North American Free Trade Agreement with USMCA (United States Mexico Canada Agreement)

— Withdrew from international peace pact with Iran

— Met with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un in failed attempt to reach a peace deal

— Brokered establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain

Yucca Mountain

— First budget contained $120 million to restart licensing for Yucca Mountain; Congress rejected the idea

— Changed positions in July 2018, tweeting that “my Administration is committed to exploring innovative approaches — I’m confident we can get it done!”


— Signed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that cut marginal personal tax rate and corporate taxes

— Signed order for a withholding tax holiday to boost economy during COVID; wants to make it permanent next year

— Would enact 10 percent middle-class tax cut

Climate change

— Calls climate change a “hoax”

— Withdrew from Paris Climate Accord

Criminal justice, violence in America and racial equity

— Signed First Step Act to reform federal sentencing terms and allow for the early release of thousands of federal inmates

— Criticized Biden for pushing crime bill that instituted harsh federal mandatory minimum sentences

— Said antifa and left-wing groups are bigger threat to public safety than white supremacists

— Said he does not see reparations for slavery happening


Former Vice President Joe Biden

Coronavirus and health care

— Create Pandemic Testing Board to get more tests to Americans for free

— Create a National Contact Tracing Workforce at least 100,000 strong

— Governors and mayors make decisions on what opens

— Premium pay for health care workers and paid leave for those infected with COVID and their caregivers

— Provide resources to schools “to safely reopen”

— Called for three-month nationwide mask mandate in August, but said in September he wasn’t sure president had that authority

— Wants to build on Affordable Care Act by offering more choice and increase health insurance coverage to 97 percent of population


— Supports abortion rights and taxpayer funding of abortion

— Would rescind “global gag rule” that withholds aid from international organizations that offer information on abortion

— Would restore Affordable Care Act’s designation of birth control as an essential service


— Opposed by NRA

— Supports an assault weapons ban

— Would require current owners of so-called assault weapons to sell their firearms to federal government or register them under National Firearms Act

— Proposes one gun per person per month purchase limit


— In March, committed to halting deportations for 100 days and said his administration would deport only undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies

— Would end funding for Trump’s border wall and redirect that money to other border enforcement efforts

— Would reinstate DACA

— After opposing sanctuary cities as a presidential candidate in 2007, now supports local law enforcement not turning undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities

— Opposes family separation of undocumented migrants at the border

— Would reverse Trump’s “public charge” rule

Foreign policy

— Denounced Trump’s move of U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as “short-sighted and frivolous” but would not move it back to Tel Aviv

— Recently told CNN Trump’s USMCA was better than NAFTA

— Supports Iran nuclear deal that he argues would keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon

— Voted to authorize military force in Iraq in 2002, which he later said was a bad judgment call based on misplaced trust in then-President George W. Bush

Yucca Mountain

— Opposes Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility


— Would repeal Trump’s tax cuts for high income earners

— Would raise top tax rate to 39.6 percent for income of more than $400,000

— Would apply Social Security withholding taxes on wages up to $400,000

— Would increase corporate income tax to 28 percent

Climate change

— Would recommit United States to Paris Climate Accord

— Said Green New Deal is “not my plan” but his campaign website calls it an essential framework for greenhouse gas reduction

Criminal justice, violence in America and racial equity

— Driving force behind the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which instituted harsh mandatory minimum sentences

— During first debate, said antifa “is an idea not an organization”

— Told Washington Post he supports a commission or other mechanism to determine what form reparations could take

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or at 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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