2020 Biden-Trump election presidential debate schedule released, second town hall debate canceled

WASHINGTON — The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is officially called off.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates confirmed on Friday that the Oct. 15 showdown would be called off. The decision came a day after the committee announced the debate would take place “virtually” because Trump had contracted the coronavirus.

Trump was reluctant to hold the debate in that format, and Biden scheduled a town hall with ABC News for that night once Trump said he would not participate.

A final presidential debate – what would have been the fourth overall, including the vice-presidential debate and the canceled town hall – is currently scheduled for Thursday, October 22.

SEE ALSO: Vice Presidential Debate Highlights

Here’s everything we know about the 2020 presidential debates:

When and where do the debates take place?

All four debates are 90 minutes long and run from 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT/6:00 p.m. PT to 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

  • September 29: First presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio
  • October 7: Vice Presidential Debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • October 15: Original date of the now canceled second presidential debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. Was advertised as a virtual event before Trump stepped down and Biden committed to another town hall on ABC
  • October 22: Third and final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Who are the moderators?

    According to the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, the moderators are:

  • Chris Wallace from Fox News hosted the first debate
  • USA today Suzanne Page moderated the vice-presidential debate
  • Steve Scully from C-SPAN for the now canceled “town meeting” debate on October 15
  • NBC Kristen Welker for the debate on October 22
  • SEE ALSO: Highlights from the first presidential debate

    Will the CPD make any changes after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis? After the first chaotic debate?

    The now-cancelled second Trump-Biden debate has moved to a “virtual” format amid concerns over the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the nonpartisan debates host announced Thursday.

    Contestants were to “participate from separate remote locations,” while contestants and the moderator remain in Miami. Trump’s campaign, however, said it would “pass” on a virtual town hall and plan a rally instead, leading Biden to commit to an ABC News town hall event the same evening.

    The CPD did not announce any changes to the final debate.

    The Sept. 29 presidential debate deteriorated into bitter jeering and near-chaos, with Trump in particular repeatedly interrupting Biden and speaking to moderator Chris Wallace.

    A day later, the commission released a statement saying it would be considering changes to the debate format and would announce them shortly.

    “The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made it clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues” , we read in the press release.

    What will the debates look like?

    The 2020 debates follow similar formats used in 2012 and 2016.

    The town hall debate

    The now-cancelled second presidential debate would have looked like a town hall, even with Trump and Biden answering questions from uncommitted Miami-area voters selected under the supervision of Dr. Frank Newport of global analytics firm Gallup .

    First and last debate

    The first and third presidential debates are divided into six segments of about 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. These topics will be announced at least one week before each debate.

    Candidates will have two minutes to answer questions from moderators.

    Vice Presidential Debate

    The debate was divided into nine 10-minute segments. Pence and Harris each had two minutes to respond.

    Applicants will have two minutes to respond to each question, and the moderator will have an additional minute to facilitate further discussion.

    How will the coronavirus pandemic impact the debates?

    Prior to the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis, debate organizers followed several health and safety protocols for the pandemic.

    Ticketing is extremely limited for all events. The seats will also promote social distancing.

    The CPD said it will follow all CDC, state, county and site health and safety protocols at all four debate sites, with the Cleveland Clinic serving as the health safety adviser.

    The University of Notre Dame announced in July that it would withdraw from hosting the first presidential debate in September due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The venue has been rescheduled to Case Western Reserve University.

    The second presidential debate was also originally scheduled elsewhere. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, announced in June that it could not hold the debate safely, so it was moved to the 525,000 square foot Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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