Where Trump and Biden stand on the issues

Kevin Uhrmacher

Where Trump and Biden stand on the issues

In his reelection bid, President Trump is touting his stewardship of the economy, promising a rapid coronavirus vaccine, and employing tough rhetoric on immigration and social unrest. His challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, says he would reverse many of Trump’s actions and pursue ambitious proposals to address the pandemic, racial injustice and climate change. But as Trump has discovered, the most ambitious promises are often the toughest to accomplish in Washington.

The Washington Post compiled the candidates’ stances to inform readers about the issues defining the 2020 election. Both campaigns were given an opportunity to confirm or correct the characterizations. Biden’s campaign clarified several stances; Trump’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Coronavirus response

Supports mask mandates nationwide to fight the pandemic?

Trump opposes a national requirement for mask-wearing and left it to states or local governments to enact mandates, although the federal Strategic National Stockpile is providing some masks. Trump has regularly appeared in public and in private without a mask — and has mocked Biden for wearing one and for curbing his campaign events for safety’s sake. Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced on Oct. 2.

Biden said that his legal team thinks that he, as president, would have the authority to institute a national mask mandate, but that he would also call for all governors to enact mask mandates. “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public,” he said in June. Biden routinely wears a mask when he appears at public events.

Supports federal action to expand testing?

Trump has said the government provides free coronavirus tests, but a national testing strategy the administration wrote at Congress’s direction leaves much of the responsibility for testing plans to the states. At times, Trump has complained that widespread testing “makes us look bad” by increasing known case counts.

Biden said he would adopt nationwide testing and contact tracing, including by doubling the number of drive-through testing sites and providing federal funding for “regular and reliable covid-19 testing for every worker called back on the job.”

Supports fast-tracking the development of a safe and effective vaccine?

Trump has repeatedly said a vaccine could be available as soon as this fall. The chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to accelerate production of a coronavirus vaccine, said that timeline was “possible but very unlikely.”

Biden said he would accelerate the development of treatment and vaccines in his plan to combat the coronavirus. He has expressed reservations about whether a coronavirus vaccine approved by the Trump administration would be safe, raising doubts about the president’s ability to put the health of Americans before politics.

Supports schools reopening amid the pandemic?

Trump has called on schools to open fully — although he said in July that “cities or states that are current hot spots . . . may need to delay reopening for a few weeks.” He has said federal funding should be withheld from districts that don’t reopen.

Biden emphasizes that districts should make decisions about reopening safely based on local conditions. He called on Congress to provide billions of dollars in emergency funding for school districts to make the changes necessary and buy protective equipment.

Withdraw from the World Health Organization?

Trump’s administration notified the United Nations in June of its intent to withdraw from the World Health Organization over what he called the group’s “China-centric” coronavirus response.

Biden said he would reverse the withdrawal on his first day in office.

Economy and trade

Supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour?

Trump hinted at possible action on the minimum wage in July and expressed openness to $15 an hour in 2019. The wage has not budged since 2009. Trump’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication. While the economy did a big U-turn under Obama, his administration admitted that its “unfinished business” was seeing wages grow faster again. It took until the summer of 2018 to finally see average hourly earnings rising above 3 percent.

Biden supports a minimum wage of $15, as well as ending the lower minimum wages for tipped workers and people with disabilities.

Change in U.S. wages, 2007-2020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Trump vs. Obama economy — in 16 charts

Supports United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal?

Trump won bipartisan support for the revamped trade agreement, fulfilling his campaign pledge to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Biden backed the final version of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, although his campaign said he does not think it is ideal. He credited “improvements that the labor and progressive movements” won during negotiations for his support.

Supports ‘Made in America’ policies?

Trump signed an executive order requiring that certain “essential” drugs and medical supplies purchased by the federal government be manufactured domestically.

A Biden proposal would penalize American companies for moving manufacturing and service jobs overseas and then selling their products in the United States. He called for the federal government to spend $400 billion over four years on materials and services made in the United States, as well as $300 billion on U.S.-based research and development involving electric cars, artificial intelligence and similar technology.

Supports allowing the Federal Reserve to operate independent of political pressure?

Trump has pressed the Fed to lower interest rates and nominated allies with controversial stances on the Fed’s independence and monetary policy.

“No president — or even a candidate for president — should be tweeting or commenting on an institution that requires independence to fulfill its duties,” Biden told The Post during the Democratic primary.

Supports an eviction moratorium during the pandemic?

Trump repeatedly promised that he would step in to help the millions of people vulnerable to eviction. When eviction bans eventually end, millions of renters are likely to owe months of back rent they can’t afford.

Biden supports an eviction moratorium, a campaign spokesperson said. His plan promises “immediate relief” for renters facing eviction, and support for legal assistance and community programs that provide alternatives to eviction.

Supports funding up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for American workers?



Yes, but limited action

Trump signed a defense bill in 2019 that included a measure pushed by House Democrats and his daughter Ivanka Trump that guarantees 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers. Trump committed to provide paid parental leave for working parents in his FY2020 budget and backed a bill that would allow new parents to take advance payments on future child tax credits, but he has not pushed the issue.

Biden pledges to support “universal paid sick days and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.”

Supports Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal?

Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to withdraw from the deal at the beginning of his first term.



Would renegotiate parts of it

Biden helped craft and promote the original deal to counter China’s rising economic might, but now says parts of it would need to be renegotiated for him to support it.

Supports tariffs on goods from China?

Trump waged a trade war against China for nearly two years, causing deep damage in parts of the U.S. economy. The deal he signed scores some wins, though skepticism remains about whether massive tariffs were needed to get there.



Would reevaluate them

Biden, who is harshly critical of Trump’s approach to China, has promised to re-evaluate tariffs on Chinese products them upon taking office.

Taxes and entitlements

Supports extending $600-per-month federal unemployment insurance supplement?

Trump issued a White House executive directive providing a temporary $300 weekly jobless benefit after the enhanced federal unemployment benefit of $600 ran out. The order stipulated that people receiving less than $100 per week in unemployment benefits from their states are not eligible for the extra $300, effectively preventing as many as 1 million jobless Americans from receiving the benefit. The new funding was already running out at the beginning of September.

Biden said he would “extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance,” but has not committed to $600. Biden’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Supports cutting Social Security?

“We will strongly protect Medicaid and Social Security,” Trump said in September. He has suggested deferring payroll taxes, which are a large funder of Social Security, and funding the program from the Treasury’s general fund. He told CNBC he would “take a look” at changing Social Security. Trump’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Biden’s plan pledges to prevent cuts to Social Security and extend more benefits to the oldest Americans. “We urgently need action to make the program solvent and prevent cuts to American retirees,” the plan states. During his Senate career, Biden at times has suggested changes in Social Security and other government spending to tackle rising budget deficits.

Supports 2017 GOP tax cut?

Trump signed a significant overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 2017, which he touted as “a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs.” Corporations received a major tax cut, while most Americans saw temporary savings of various sizes.

Biden has said that he would reverse many of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations to fund, in part, costly climate, education and health-care plans. He said he would not increase taxes for anyone earning less than $400,000.

Supports increasing capital gains taxes?

Trump said he’s “seriously considering” cutting capital gains taxes.

Biden’s plan would effectively double the rate by subjecting capital gains to his plan’s top marginal rate, 39.6 percent, for people with incomes of $1 million or more.

Supports increasing corporate tax rate?

Trump’s tax cut lowered the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Biden would raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

Supports reparations to descendants of enslaved people?

Trump called the debate “interesting” but said he doesn’t see it happening.

“While my administration takes major actions to address systemic racism, it will also study how reparations may be part of those efforts and ensure the voices of descendants are central when gathering data and information,” Biden told The Post.

Supports opportunity zones, which create tax incentives to encourage investment in struggling communities?

The administration’s signature policy for low-income and minority communities, “opportunity zones” are meant to encourage investment in struggling areas. The zones, included in the 2017 tax cut bill, have been viewed skeptically by some economists.



Would reform the program

“We cannot close the racial wealth gap if we allow billionaires to exploit Opportunity Zones tax breaks to pad their wealth,” Biden’s plan for racial equality in the U.S. economy said.

Health care

Supports Affordable Care Act?

Trump has said he would offer a replacement plan, but has not done so. His administration supports a case, now before the Supreme Court, that seeks to overturn the 2010 law.

Biden regularly attacks Trump for his undermining of the ACA, President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement during Biden’s time as vice president.

Supports requiring health insurance to cover preexisting conditions?

Trump has said repeatedly that he will always protect Americans with preexisting medical conditions. Yet the protections are part of the ACA, which the administration wants the Supreme Court to strike down. The president threw his support behind House and Senate bills that would have weakened preexisting condition protections by allowing states to seek waivers. If the bills had been signed into law, costs for people with existing health conditions almost certainly would have increased.

Biden regularly attacks Trump for his undermining of the ACA, Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement during Biden’s time as vice president.

Supports a public health insurance option for government-financed care?

Biden says he would build on the ACA to give more people the choice of a public insurance plan, rather than creating a Medicare-for-all single-payer system.

Supports lowering Medicare eligibility age?

Biden announced a proposal in the spring to make Americans eligible for Medicare at age 60, instead of the current 65.

Supports Medicaid expansion, as 38 states and the District already have done under the ACA?

Supports right-to-try legislation, which allows patients with life-threatening diseases or conditions to have access to experimental drugs or procedures?

Trump signed the federal Right to Try Act in 2018.

Biden’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Supports importing certain prescription drugs from Canada, where they are sold at a lower cost?

Trump issued an executive order to accomplish this, but the federal rules that health officials began developing last year are not final.

Biden supports allowing consumers to import prescription drugs.

Supports allowing undocumented immigrants to get insurance through Medicaid or other public insurance programs?

Trump pledges to “block illegal immigrants from becoming eligible for taxpayer-funded welfare, healthcare, and free college tuition” in his second term.

The Biden campaign has a policy position that undocumented immigrants should be able to purchase insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, but without receiving any subsidies. “You cannot let people who are sick, no matter where they come from, no matter what their status, go uncovered,” Biden said during the first Democratic primary debate.

Criminal justice

Supports ‘defunding’ the police?

Trump has defended law enforcement against calls from left-wing activists to “defund the police” or to abolish police, saying that most in law enforcement are “doing an incredible job.”

Biden has firmly rejected calls to defund police departments. His proposal advocates spending an additional $300 million a year on community policing initiatives and conditioning existing funding on reforms. “The vast majority of police are decent, honorable people, but there are bad apples, man. And we have to change the way in which we teach police. We have to release all the information,” he said at a fundraiser.

Supports ending qualified immunity, which shields police from lawsuits?

Trump has called the idea of ending qualified immunity for police “crazy.”

A campaign spokesperson said that Biden thinks qualified immunity “needs to be reined in.” He reportedly would not agree to call for an end to the doctrine.

Supports lowering mandatory minimum prison sentences?

Trump signed the bipartisan First Step Act, which aimed to lessen long-standing disparities in incarceration by reducing prison sentences.



Would eliminate them

Biden supports ending mandatory minimum sentences federally and urging states to end them, although during his 36-year career in the Senate, he had a history of pushing for legislation that included mandatory minimum sentences.

Supports federal legalization of recreational marijuana?

As a candidate, Trump said legalization should be left up to the states, but in 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it easier for U.S. prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the substance. Trump later said that he would “probably” support a bipartisan bill to work out the federal-state differences.



No, but would decriminalize

Biden’s criminal justice plan seeks to decriminalize recreational marijuana use and legalize medical use federally, let states opt for recreational legalization and reclassify it to allow more research on its effects. His plan also would expunge prior cannabis convictions.

Supports the death penalty?

Trump has been a staunch supporter of capital punishment for decades, calling for death sentences to be handed down time and time again.

“We cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time,” Biden’s criminal justice plan said. He would eliminate it.

Supports privatizing prisons?

Trump reversed an Obama-era directive to stop using private prisons to house federal inmates.

Biden wants to end the federal use of private prisons and encourage states to stop using them.

Supports eliminating cash bail?

Trump does not want to eliminate cash bail and even supports ending “cashless bail,” which allows judges to decide whether an accused person can leave bail free, or must wait in jail for trial.

Biden wants to end cash bail, calling it a “modern-day debtors’ prison.”

Voting and government

Supports quickly filling the Supreme Court vacancy following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death?

Republican leaders said they were pressing ahead to seize a monumental chance to solidify the court’s rightward ideological shift by replacing Ginsburg, a liberal icon, with a conservative jurist. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) refused to hold hearings in 2016 on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court seat. Garland was nominated eight months before that year’s election, and McConnell and other Senate Republicans maintained that the next president should be the one to fill the seat.

“We need to deescalate, not escalate,” Biden said on Sept. 20. “So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans, the handful who really will decide what happens: Please, follow your conscience. Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there.”

Supports adding more seats to the Supreme Court?

Biden pointedly refused to answer a court-packing question during his first debate with Trump and later said “you’ll know my position on court packing the day after the election.” He was opposed to the idea during the primary. “I would not get into court packing. We add three justices; next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all,” Biden said at the time.

Supports vote-by-mail?



Under some circumstances

Trump has falsely suggested that vote-by-mail is a significant source of voter fraud, although he casts his ballots by mail. He opposes automatically sending ballots to voters but supports people voting absentee with a specific reason.

At his first debate with Trump, Biden encouraged voters to cast ballots by mail or in person. “Vote whatever way is best for you,” he said.

Which states will offer vote-by-mail

Ballot automatically mailed

Ballot application automatically mailed

Only with an excuse beyond covid-19 fear

Source: Post reporting

Graphic: At least 84% of American voters can cast ballots by mail in the fall

Supports voter ID laws, which require voters to show identification at the polls?

Supports restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies who have completed their sentences?

When people convicted of felonies become eligible to vote

After prison sentence

After prison, parole and probation

Some permanently disenfranchised

*Only after prison and parole,

does not include probation

Source: Brennan Center for Justice, as of Aug. 5

These states have expanded voting rights for the currently and formerly incarcerated

Supports statehood for Washington, D.C.?

Trump told the New York Post that Republicans would be “very, very stupid” to allow the deep-blue city to become a state and elect two senators.

“You should be a state,” Biden said at a press conference with the D.C. mayor in 2015.

Supports statehood for Puerto Rico?

“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump said in 2018.



Let Puerto Ricans decide

“I will work with representatives who support each of the status options in Puerto Rico on a fair and binding process to determine their own status,” Biden said in September. “I believe statehood would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with equal representation at the federal level. But the people of Puerto Rico must decide, and the federal government must respect and act on their decision.”

Supports eliminating the Senate filibuster?

Trump has called for nixing the filibuster when frustrated with Congress, but the GOP Senate leadership has warned against its removal. Trump’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Biden, long an opponent of abolishing the filibuster, recently said he would consider doing so if faced with obstruction in Congress.

Supports congressional term limits?

Trump said he would pass congressional term limits if he is reelected.

Biden voted against a term-limits measure, saying it would harm smaller states, and reiterated his opposition last fall.

Supports eliminating the electoral college?

Foreign policy

Supports committing to NATO?



Yes, but remains lukewarm

Trump has complained often about the Western alliance’s funding, although others in the administration express confidence in the pact. His NATO ambassador said, “I think that he has turned a corner,” when asked whether Trump would still consider withdrawing from the pact.

Biden pledges to “restore our historic partnerships,” including NATO.

Supports withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban?

The peace talks, mandated by a deal signed by the United States and the Taliban in February, are a key foreign policy objective for the Trump administration as it looks to withdraw additional U.S. troops from the country.

“Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS,” according to his foreign policy plan.

Supports the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal?

Trump announced a historic peace agreement between Israel and United Arab Emirates in August. Although Trump’s Middle East peace proposal allows for Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank, his peace agreement puts that possibility on hold.

Biden said he was “gratified” by the deal. He opposes annexation.

Supports moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

Trump upended decades of U.S. policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordering the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to that city.

Biden said the embassy “should not have been moved,” but he does not support reversing the decision.

Supports Iran nuclear deal?

Trump pulled the United States out of the Obama-era deal, which he criticized as weak, poorly negotiated and “insane.”



If Iran returns to compliance

Biden says Trump’s withdrawal prompted Iran “to restart its nuclear program and become more provocative, bringing the region to the cusp of another disastrous war.”

Acknowledges that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign?

President Trump frequently said special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was a witch hunt or a hoax.

Biden accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s consensus that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Supports ending assistance for the Saudi-led war in Yemen?

Trump vetoed a resolution to end U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war.

Biden called for the United States to end its assistance to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen.

Supports direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, without prior concessions?

Supports current restrictions on U.S.-Cuba relations?

Trump’s administration has worked to roll back the Obama-era thaw with Cuba.

Biden called the Cuban government’s actions “deeply concerning” but supports lifting some restrictions on U.S. travel and remittances to “support progress.”

Supports the creation of Space Force?

Biden’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Supports increasing the Defense Department budget from current levels?

Trump and Congress increased the military budget by removing the restraints on spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Sizable increases to the defense budget followed, including to pay for further investment in the creation of Trump’s Space Force, pay increases for the military, and investments in a vast modernization of the American nuclear arsenal. Trump diverted billions away from the defense budget to fund construction of the Southern border wall.

“The real question is not how much we invest — it’s how we invest,” Biden’s campaign told The Post during the primary. “We have to move away from investments in legacy systems that won’t be relevant for tomorrow’s wars, and we have to rethink the contributions we and our allies make to our collective security.”

Climate and the

Believes climate change is real and recent warming is largely driven by human activity?

At the first presidential debate, Trump said “I think to an extent, yes,” that human pollution contributes to global warming. But in a 2018 Post interview he said “people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers” in climate change. “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.” He again rejected the scientific consensus on climate change in September, saying “I don’t think science knows.”

Read more about Biden’s plan to fight climate change.

Supports an active role for the federal government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Trump has dismissed the science behind climate change, rolled back scores of Obama-era environmental protections, announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and heavily promoted the fossil fuels linked to rising temperatures.

Biden introduced a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change that pledges to eliminate carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2035, impose stricter gas mileage standards, and fund investments to weatherize millions of homes and commercial buildings and upgrade the nation’s transportation system. The plan calls the Green New Deal “a crucial framework” for addressing climate challenges “on an epic scale.”

Supports rejoining the Paris agreement?

Trump began the process of withdrawing the United States from the climate accord.

Biden would rejoin the pact and encourage other nations to increase their commitments.

Supports banning fracking?

Trump touts the natural gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, as a job creator that keeps energy prices low.



No, but would end new drilling on public land

“I am not banning fracking,” Biden said in September. He would ban new oil and gas leases, including for fracking, on federal land and raise environmental standards.

Supports fossil fuel extraction in public water and on public land, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Trump opened much public land, including the refuge, to oil and gas extraction. He proposed a vast expansion of drilling in U.S. continental waters, but recently banned drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Biden wants to end new oil, gas and coal permitting in public water and on public land, including in the refuge.

Supports banning fossil fuel exports?

Biden’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

U.S. energy exports, 1990 to 2019



10 quadrillion BTU

Crude oil

ban lifted

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Supports Keystone XL pipeline?

Supports nuclear power?

“We must look at all low- and zero-carbon technologies,” Biden’s climate plan says. It pledges to address concerns about nuclear waste disposal with further research. His plan incorporates nuclear energy as a clean-energy alternative to fossil fuels.


Supports ‘zero tolerance’ policy that led to family separations at the border?

Trump issued an executive order to end his policy of systematic family separations, but called zero tolerance “not a mistake” in 2019.

Read more about Biden’s approach to immigration.

Supports building additional wall on the U.S.-Mexico border?

Trump’s $15 billion border wall project includes about 321 miles of newly completed barriers as of mid-September, and officials with the Department of Homeland Security say they are on track to finish 450 miles by the end of the year. Although Trump had insisted that Mexico would pay for the project, it has been funded entirely by the U.S. government, in part by diverting Defense Department funding. Most of the new barrier is considered “replacement” fencing, swapping out smaller, older barriers for a more formidable — and costly — “border wall system.”

“There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration,” Biden said in August. His immigration plan would instead make “investments in improving screening infrastructure at our ports of entry.”

Supports a moratorium on deportations?

Trump is deporting fewer people than the Obama administration did, but he has touted his record on deporting undocumented immigrants and gang members.

Biden has called the high number of deportations during the Obama years “a big mistake” and said he would commit to a 100-day moratorium at the start of his administration. He “will direct enforcement efforts toward threats to public safety and national security,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Supports banning sanctuary cities?

Trump pledged to “end sanctuary cities to restore our neighborhoods and protect our families” in his second-term agenda.

Biden wants to “aggressively limit” local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. He previously opposed sanctuary cities.

Supports the United States accepting fewer than 50,000 refugees per year?

In October, the Trump administration limited the number of refugees who can be admitted to the United States in the next year to 15,000, the lowest level since the program began four decades ago. Pandemic-driven restrictions have further restricted access.

Biden said that he would allow 125,000 refugees in the first year and that he would “seek to raise [the limit] over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values and the unprecedented global need.”

Supports increasing the number of high-skilled immigrants?



Yes, not during pandemic

Trump paused visas for high-skilled workers through 2020, citing job losses because of the pandemic. In 2019, the administration’s preference was to allow high-skilled immigrants.

Biden wants to reform the temporary visa system and then “will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country.”


Supports nominating antiabortion justices to the Supreme Court?

Trump, who once supported abortion rights, recently rolled out a list of 20 names of people he said he would consider as potential Supreme Court justices, reprising a 2016 strategy he used to try to reassure conservatives concerned that he would not be far enough to the right. During his first term, Trump nominated to the high court Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, giving conservatives a 5-4 majority. Trump touts his judicial nominations as among his most important actions as president and pledges that his picks will uphold Second Amendment rights.

Biden does not support this. He has said that he would nominate a Black woman to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. While he previously said his campaign was preparing a list of potential nominees to be released “further down the line,” Biden said on Sept. 20 that he would not do so, suggesting that it would inflame tensions and subject the prospects to political attacks. He has rejected calls from liberal activists for changes such as expanding the high court or establishing term limits for justices.

Supports additional abortion restrictions?

Trump backed an unsuccessful bill that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Supports public funding for abortions?

The Hyde Amendment currently bars the use of public funds for most abortion services.

Biden reversed his longtime opposition to public funding for abortions during the Democratic primary.

Should there be restrictions on late-term abortions?

Trump backed an unsuccessful bill that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“Biden believes in the standard laid out by Roe and Casey,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.


Supports making public colleges tuition-free?

Trump decries free college as part of a “socialist” agenda.

Biden supports making public colleges tuition-free for families making less than $125,000.

Supports universal prekindergarten?

Supports federal funding to send students to private schools?

Trump’s second-term agenda includes providing “school choice to every child in America.”

Biden opposes vouchers for private education.

Supports banning charter schools?

“Charter schools are doing great,” Trump said in July.



Only for-profit charters

Biden supports a ban on for-profit charter schools and increased accountability for all charters.

Supports cross-examination of accusers of sexual assault at colleges and universities?

Trump’s Education Department announced new rules in May on campus sexual assault, offering more rights to the accused.

Biden would “strongly discourage” schools from allowing cross-examination during a hearing, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Gun control

Supports a federal assault weapons ban?

Trump said in 2019 that there was “no political appetite” for banning assault rifles.

Biden’s plan includes renewing the federal assault weapons ban — he touts his role in 1994 in passing a 10-year ban — and a voluntary program to buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Supports a widespread, mandatory program for confiscating guns?

Trump touts his support for Second Amendment rights and decries gun confiscation. He signaled support in 2019 for “rapid due process” via red-flag laws, which allow a judge to order the temporary removal of weapons from someone deemed a danger, but later grew disenchanted with them.

Biden does not support a widespread gun confiscation program. He does support the enactment of state-level red-flag laws and said he would institute a voluntary program to buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Supports requirement for gun owners to register their firearms?

Trump expressed some interest in gun-control measures, but later grew disenchanted with them.



Only assault weapons

Biden would give owners of assault weapons a choice: voluntarily sell assault weapons they own to the government or register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Supports requiring background checks on every gun purchase?

Trump said there was “a very strong appetite” for background check legislation in the wake of mass shootings in 2019, but later abandoned the idea of releasing such a proposal. Trump’s campaign did not clarify his stance by publication.

Biden’s plan would require background checks for all gun sales.

Supports banning rapid-fire rifle attachments known as bump stocks?

Trump moved to ban bump stocks with bipartisan support after a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.

Biden supports the bump-stock ban, his campaign confirmed.

LGBTQ rights

Supports extending federal anti-discrimination protections to gay and transgender people?

While Trump celebrates the idea of social change — recently boasting of appointing the first openly gay man to the level of Cabinet secretary — his administration has repeatedly opted to resist or roll back protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people in a nod to his more conservative supporters.

Biden, an early supporter of same-sex marriage, introduced a plan for LGBTQ equality, including extending civil rights protections to gay and transgender people.

Supports ban on transgender people in the military?

Trump instituted a ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.

Biden would reverse the transgender military ban.

Supports same-sex marriage?

As a candidate, Trump said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges to overturn the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Once elected, he said it was “the law of the land,” but aggressively targeted protections for LGBT Americans.

Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, a federal law that barred legal recognition of same-sex marriages, but backed marriage equality in 2012 as vice president, putting pressure on Obama and his administration to do the same.

Update (Oct. 8): Updated with Biden’s continued refusal to clarify his stance on court packing.

Update (Oct. 5): Updated with Trump’s positive coronavirus test, comments on climate change from the first debate and additional contextual information on several questions.

Update (Oct. 1): Updated with the Trump administration’s new refugee admission cap.

Update (Sept. 30): Updated Biden’s stance on court packing after the first debate.

Update (Sept. 21): Added a question about filling the Supreme Court vacancy following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Also, Biden announced that he no longer plans to release a list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

About this story

Design and development by Andrew Braford, Jake Crump, Lucio Villa and Matthew Callahan. Illustrations by Ben Kirchner. Juliet Eilperin, Anne Gearan, Amy Goldstein, Dino Grandoni, Sarah Hashemi, Abigail Hauslohner, Heather Long, Laura Meckler, Nick Miroff, Amber Phillips, Maria Sacchetti, Jeff Stein, Elise Viebeck and Matt Viser contributed to this report.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics covering elections and public policy at The Washington Post.Follow