In lieu of a debate, both candidates will host town hall events on different networks.
After US President Donald Trump declined to participate in a virtual debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, Biden announced that he would instead host a Town Hall-style discussion, where he would take questions and comments from US citizens about his prospective policies should he be elected President. Biden’s Town Hall is scheduled for 8:00 PM Eastern time on Thursday, and will air on ABC.
However, Trump announced today that he will be hosting a Town Hall discussion of his own in Miami, Florida at the exact same date and time as Biden’s, though Trump’s will air on NBC. According to NBC’s Twitter, NIH Clinical Director Dr. Clifford Lane and Dr. Anthony Fauci have both concluded that the President is not currently shedding viral particles, in reference to his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. While the President is not infectious, however, the event will still be held outdoors in compliance with local and government health mandates. The moderator for the event, Savannah Guthrie, will be seated at least 12 feet away from the President, and all attendees will be required to wear face masks.
The announcement on NBC’s Twitter was met with some blowback from users, many of whom have said they will be boycotting Trump’s Town Hall as well as NBC in general. One Twitter user, retired journalist Brett Marshall, said that NBC is giving Trump “a forum where he doesn’t deserve one. This is like free advertising. You are no longer a news service.”
According to most recent polls, Biden is running ahead of Trump overall, either polling behind or in a tie with him in critical swing states. There are currently less than three weeks remaining until the the November 3 election.