Biden's ABC town hall: Former VP lays out vision in stark contrast to Trump's

Highlights from Biden's town hall with voters in Philadelphia.

With less than three weeks to Election Day, Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden faced voters directly in an ABC News Town Hall from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

The live special edition of "20/20" -- titled "The Vice President and the People" -- was moderated by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

The primetime event followed a fiery back-and-forth on the fate of the second presidential debate, which was originally scheduled for Thursday in Miami but ultimately canceled last Friday.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates changed its format to be virtual following President Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 diagnosis, to which Trump took issue, saying he wouldn't "waste" time in a virtual debate. With Trump's rejection of the event, Biden then agreed to participate in the town hall with ABC News.

Voters had the opportunity to ask the former vice president the questions most important to them

The event was held in accordance with state and local government health and safety regulations, as well as guidelines set forward by health officials.

Trump, at the same time Thursday, participated in a town hall from Miami with NBC News. The president participated in an ABC News town hall in September.


5 key takeaways from Biden town hall

Instead of facing voters alongside President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden had the opportunity to make his case without his challenger on stage with him, participating in an ABC News town hall with Pennsylvania voters at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Throughout the night, Biden contrasted what his administration would look like compared to the current one with policy-heavy answers, pitching himself as the leader that he believes Trump hasn't been while in office, and throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He also said he would let voters know his stance on court packing prior to Election Day, a change from his previous answers on the subject.

Here are the key takeaways from Biden's town hall


Highlights from Trump's competing town hall in Miami

While Biden was participating in ABC News' town hall in Philadelphia, Trump appeared for his solo town hall in Miami. He agreed to the competing town hall with NBC after saying he would not participate in a virtual debate format against Biden, which led the Commission on Presidential Debates to cancel the event.

Here are highlights from the Miami town hall

-ABC News' Justin Gomez, Terrance Smith and Will Steakin


FACT CHECK: Biden highlights the number of transgender killings -- and it's even higher than he said


BIDEN'S CLAIM: Responding to a question about rights for LGBTQ people, Biden referenced the number of transgender people killed this year, saying it was at least 17.

FACT CHECK: After the mother of an 8-year-old transgender daughter asked Biden how he would restore rights to the LGBTQ community that had been eroded under the Trump administration, Biden acknowledged that the number of transgender people killed might be higher than he knows. And he was right.

"There should be zero discrimination, and what's happening is too many transgender women of color are being murdered," Biden said. "I think it's up to now 17 -- don't hold me to that number, but it's -- it’s higher now? And that's just this year. So I promise you, there is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your daughter."

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 33 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other means this year.

The organization, a progressive LGBTQ advocacy group, began tracking this data in 2013 and has never reported such a high number at this point in the year, according to its website.
 
It has tracked at least 126 deaths of transgender people since 2016 due to fatal violence, with most victims being black transgender women, but the organization said the violence is hard to track due to misgendering and transphobia. The actual number of killings could be much higher.
 
“Six transgender woman have been killed over the last 23 days — which is just over three weeks — in this country,” Tori Cooper, HRC's director of community engagement for its Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement Thursday.
 
“We have already seen more trans and gender non-conforming people killed this year since we began tracking these deaths in 2013, and the numbers continue to climb, even during a pandemic," Cooper said. "We must all ask ourselves what each of us is doing to work to bring this violence to an end."

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett



Democracy for America CEO: 'It was a great night for him'

ABC News Political contributor and Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson said that Thursday night's town hall was the best she'd seen Biden.

"I think he did a great job not just directly answering questions, talking about specific policies," she said. "I think he took that very hard stance of acknowledging that he was wrong about the 1994 crime bill, which I think was a great position for him to take, so I think it was a great night for him."

Simpson added that Biden is "walking a tightrope."

"If you're the leader of a party you have to take everybody's opinions to bear. We have not seen that with Donald Trump he's not listening to most Republicans or most people," she said. "And I actually do respect Joe Biden for, I think, having a broader perspective, listening to all sides, and actually being willing to adjust his own thinking to the realities of the day."