Boom! On Thursday, October 22nd, at 9 PM ET, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will face off for the final debate of the 2020 presidential campaign. The debate will be held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
The second debate was originally scheduled to take place on October 15th but was reorganized after Trump’s illness and ultimately canceled after he declined to participate in a virtual event. As a result, tonight’s debate is the third officially scheduled event with the two candidates but is only the second to actually take place.
Following Trump’s COVID-19 infection, the debate will be marked by a number of public health precautions. It will be held in person, but the candidates will be socially distanced and will not shake hands. The number of guests will be limited, and all guests will be required to wear masks.
HOW DO I WATCH TONIGHT’S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE?
The debate will air on every major news network and be live-streamed online by a range of channels. On YouTube, you can find debate streams from C-Span, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and PBS, among others. We’ve embedded the C-Span live stream at the top of this post.
Who is hosting?
Country stars Kane Brown and Ashley McBryde will co-host the virtual show alongside actress Sarah Hyland, fresh off her “Modern Family” run.
McBryde is a big deal as far as the CMT Awards are concerned, as she’s the reigning new artist of the year winner.
WHAT TIME DOES TONIGHT’S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE START?
The debate is scheduled to start at 9PM ET and will run for approximately 90 minutes.
WHO IS MODERATING THE DEBATE?
Tonight’s debate will be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, a rising star within the network. It’s Welker’s first time moderating a presidential debate, and she has been the subject of unrelenting public insults by the president in the days leading up to the event.
“Obviously, I don’t want to see my friend criticized in any way, but she’s tough and she can take it,” colleague Andrea Mitchell told The Washington Post, as part of an article on the unusual behavior. “I think it’s inevitable and it comes with the territory. And I think she’s ready for it.”
President Trump on Thursday followed through with a threat to release a recording of his contentious “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl before it airs, saying it shows “bias, hatred and rudeness.”
WHAT TOPICS WILL THE DEBATE COVER?
Welker has named the following six issues as the general topics for the debate, to be given roughly 15 minutes each.
- Fighting COVID-19
- American Families
- Race in America
- Climate Change
- National Security
HAVE THE RULES CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DEBATE?
The first debate was widely criticized as unruly and unpleasant, driven in large part by persistent interruptions by Trump. In response, debate organizers will now give candidates two minutes of uninterrupted time to address each of the major topics, during which time their opponent’s microphone will be silenced. The opponent will be able to respond at the close of those questions, and crosstalk will be allowed after the opening statement has been completed.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden were supposed to go head-to-head in three debates, but tonight’s event will now be the second and final meeting between the pair before election day on November 3.
Mr Trump refused to participate in the second event, planned for October 15, after it was announced the debate would be held virtually.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Mr. Trump told Fox News, calling the decision “ridiculous” moments after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes.
Looking to avoid the disruptions that marred the first meeting, organisers have announced that the October 22 debate will feature a mute button to allow each candidate to speak uninterrupted during their opening statements.
The Trump campaign voiced objections to the change but said the president would still take part. It is one of Mr. Trump’s last chances to reach a large prime-time audience before voting ends.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed how the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns are being fought this year, meaning the debates have taken on even more significance than in previous years.
The first and only debate for the two parties’ vice-presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris took place on Wednesday October 7.
Trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Ms Harris labelling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration”.
Mr Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year”, yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans.