Here Are Questions That Should Be Asked During Tuesday’s Debate

(LEFT: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images; RIGHT: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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  • President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are set to debate Tuesday night in Cleveland, marking the first of three debates between the two.
  • The debate will reportedly cover topics including COVID-19 and the integrity of the election, the economy and each candidate’s respective records.
  • Below are issues that will not likely be discussed tomorrow night, but should be, including the opioid epidemic, Hunter Biden and the border wall and why they are important.

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are set to debate Tuesday night in Cleveland.

The debate, moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace, will reportedly cover multiple topics including COVID-19, the integrity of the election, the economy and each candidate’s respective records. Here are a few questions that Wallace should consider asking each candidate. (Here’s Where Both Candidates Stand In Critical Swing States)

For Biden: Can you account for your staff, including Kamala Harris, promoting a fund that freed someone accused of sexual assault and serial domestic abusers?

Vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris encouraged her supporters to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) in order to pay bail for protesters arrested during demonstrations following George Floyd’s death. But the group bailed out multiple men accused of violent crimes, court records show.

MFF bailed out one man accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. The fund also freed a man accused of assaulting an elderly woman, as well as serial domestic abusers.

MFF said in September that only six percent of the money spent since Floyd’s death on May 25 went to bailing out people on protest-related charges.

For Trump: Why should voters trust that you will finish the wall in a second term?

One of Trump’s signature promises throughout his 2016 campaign was to build a wall along the U.S.’s nearly 2,000-mile southern border that Mexico would fund.

To date, Trump has built 341 miles of the border wall, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but only five miles are new construction with the vast majority of work going toward replacing or reinforcing existing barriers, according to a USA Today fact-check.

Mexico has repeatedly refused to pay for the wall, and a record-long 35-day government shutdown occurred in December 2018 after Congress refused to appropriate funds for it. Ultimately, multiple executive orders redirected funds from the Department of Defense for the wall. (RELATED: Trump: ‘I’m Proud To Shut Down The Government’)

President Donald Trump participates in a ceremony commemorating the 200th mile of border wall at the international border with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, June 23, 2020. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The nonprofit “We Build The Wall,” which has ties to Trump’s sphere, raised approximately $25 million from private donations to fund border wall construction. But two of its founders, Brian Kolfage and former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, were arrested on fraud charges in August.

The two allegedly defrauded donors and spent funds on items including jewelry, a boat and a luxury vehicle, according to the indictment.

For Biden: Were your son’s financial ties to foreign countries during your vice presidency a conflict of interest?

Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has been criticized for his ties to foreign countries including China and Ukraine while his father served as vice president. In August, Hunter Biden still owned a 10% stake in a Chinese private equity firm, according to Chinese business records, though he was removed from its board of directors in April.

Hunter Biden also was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma beginning while his father was vice president. Ukraine’s top prosecutor opened a probe into the company’s founder in 2019 after he allegedly embezzled state funds.

Hunter Biden joined the board in 2014, shortly after the former vice president became the Obama administration’s lead liaison to Ukraine. Joe Biden pledged in December 2019 that no member of his family “will be engaged in any foreign business” if he wins the election in November.

Last week, a Senate report jointly written by the Homeland Security and Finance Committees found that Hunter Biden’s ties to foreign businesses raised concerns of potential “criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns,” and said that a former official told Joe Biden in 2015 that his son’s foreign connections “enabled Russian disinformation efforts.”

For both: How will you mitigate the worsening opioid and suicide epidemics?

The opioid epidemic, which claimed about 90,000 American lives in 2016 and 2017 alone, according to a 2018 CDC report, has been worsening throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that alone killed just under 25,000 people in 2018, has been used at a 32% higher rate since March, according to data from Millennium Health (MH), a research laboratory that works in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Opioid use was not referenced at all throughout the Democratic National Convention but was discussed during the second night of the Republican National Convention.

The suicide rate has also risen sharply this century, rising about 33% between 1999 and 2017, according to the American Psychological Association. Over 48,000 Americans committed suicide in 2018 (the most recent year for which data is available), making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. that year, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Over 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide in 2018 as well.

In June, a CDC study found that 10.7% of those surveyed and over 25% of those aged 18-24 had contemplated suicide in the past 30 days, which the study attributed to “elevated levels of adverse mental health conditions, substance use and suicidal ideation.”

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