President Trump went after Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s stance on how to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, after the former vice president said he favored raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“How are you helping you small businesses when you’re forcing wages?” Trump asked Biden on Thursday night in Nashville, Tenn., during the second and final presidential debate.
“What’s going to happen, and what’s been proven to happen, is when you do that these small businesses fire many of their employees," Trump added.
Trump’s claims were in response to Biden’s heated comments on the need for Congress and the White House to pass a coronavirus relief package to address economic burdens caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The debate moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC News, pushed back on the president’s offensive stance and reminded him that he had also said he would consider raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“I would consider it, to an extent,” Trump said. “But not to a level that’s going to put all these businesses out of business. It should be a state option.”
Trump highlighted the fact that a business in Alabama is not necessarily equivalent to a business in New York, alluding to the fact that they may have different needs and financial expectations.
Biden rejected Trump’s comments and said that working a job that pays $6 or $7 an hour is below the poverty line no matter where you live in the U.S.
“These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street, because they’ve allowed us to make it, what’s happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15," Biden said. Adding, “Anything below that puts you below the poverty level.”
“And there is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage businesses go out of business,” Biden said. “That is simply not true.”