Trump, Biden competing town halls on TV tonight
After a canceled debate, candidates to hold forums at the same time.
WASHINGTON – Their face- to- face debate canceled, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will instead hold dueling town halls Thursday on competing television networks.
NBC announced Wednesday it will host a Trump town hall at 8 p. m. EDT on Thursday – the same time at which ABC will be hosting a similar event with Biden in Philadelphia.
The Trump event will be in Miami, which was supposed to be the site of a second debate between the two candidates. That showdown was canceled after Trump refused to participate once it was moved to a virtual format because of his COVID- 19 diagnosis.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsored the first Trump- Biden debate on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, called for the second contest to be virtual because of the threat of contagion from Trump. After Trump rejected the idea, the parties were unable to agree on an alternate format.
The debate also fell apart at a time when Trump began trailing Biden in some polls by double digits, and as the Democratic challenger builds leads in
key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Now Trump will meet with “a group of Florida voters on critical issues impacting their vote less than three weeks before Election Day,” NBC said in announcing its Miami town hall as a debate replacement.
Coming two weeks after Trump tested positive for COVID- 19, the event “will take place outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in accordance with guidelines set forth by health officials and consistent with all government regulations,” NBC said.
Trump, NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie, and the crowd will be socially distanced, the network said.
NBC also released a statement by Dr. Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, saying that he and infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci have reviewed the president’s case and cleared him for the public appearance.
ABC said its town hall will be held “in accordance with state and local government health and safety regulations, as well as guidelines set forward by health officials.”
The two candidates are still scheduled to hold a final debate Oct. 22.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump