- Monday, June 24, 2024

The debate between President Biden and former President Donald Trump on CNN on Thursday night ought to be more than the rehearsed answers and sound bites we’ve heard before. Polls show Americans are alarmed over what many feel is our country’s unraveling in terms of the economy, uncontrolled immigration, the weakening of once-shared moral values, and what used to be known as cultural norms.

Prying for some honest answers from politicians has always been difficult. Here are some of the questions I would ask if given the chance.

Polls show voters are most concerned about immigration, the economy and crime. It is obvious to anyone with eyes wide open that the border is not secure. According to The Hill, “The United States had some 10.2 million illegal immigrants in 2020, and another 10 million have entered during Biden’s presidency.” Many, it can safely be said, are gang members, criminals, some with terrorist ties. And let’s not forget the drugs. In a handful of cases, innocent Americans have even been killed by illegal immigrants.

President Biden, you swore for more than three years you could do nothing about the border without congressional action. Now, you have issued several executive orders limiting asylum access for migrants crossing the border unlawfully. These actions have reportedly lowered border apprehensions in Arizona by nearly 40%. U.S. Customs and Border Protection data also shows there has been a “25% decrease in daily encounters between ports of entry.” There is no news yet on the flow of drugs, so it’s not quite a complete victory. What would you do differently in a second term to address the border?

Follow-up: You and former President Barack Obama have pledged to “fundamentally transform America.” Does that mean flooding the nation with people who broke our laws to get here, allowing them to become citizens and, as critics say, perpetual Democratic voters?

For Mr. Trump: You have said you would deport millions of illegal migrants, but last week, you seemed to modify your position. Explain the actions you would take.

For Mr. Biden: The Congressional Budget Office projects the national debt will have reached $56 trillion by 2034. The main drivers of debt are Social Security, Medicare and other federally funded programs. These must be reformed because no nation in history has been able to sustain itself with such a large debt. What would you do to protect people now receiving these benefits but overhaul them to allow these programs to continue for future generations?

For Mr. Trump: You added $8 trillion to the national debt in your four years in office. How would you reduce spending and the debt?

For Mr. Biden: Polls show people are concerned about a new wave of crime and soft prosecutors who allow repeat offenders to walk free and, in some cases, commit new crimes. Would you urge a tougher-on-crime approach and the replacement of these prosecutors?

For Mr. Trump: Why do you call so many Democrats and some Republicans names while speaking nicely about Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping? What do you hope to accomplish by demeaning your fellow citizens?

For Mr. Trump: You have claimed Mr. Putin would never have invaded Ukraine and war would not have broken out between Israel and Hamas if you were president. On what basis can you say that?

For both: Iran is on the verge of producing a nuclear weapon. You both and Israel have said that cannot be allowed. What would you do to stop them, and can you afford to wait?

For Mr. Biden: Democrats seem to be consumed by the abortion issue. Nearly 64 million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade was enacted in 1973. As a Catholic, doesn’t that cause you concern, and why won’t you at least endorse adoption as an option?

For Mr. Trump: The president has called you a “threat to democracy” and a “convicted felon.” What can you do to ease voters’ fears about the first, and would you pardon yourself of any additional federal charges if you are reelected?

For both: You have and apparently will continue attacking each other. Say something nice and substantive you like about your opponent.

Hey, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, you have your own credibility problems, having attacked Mr. Trump so often. Let’s try to be fair on Thursday night.

• Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com. Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book, “A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America” (HumanixBooks).

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