Biden and rival President Donald Trump were originally slated to meet face-to-face Thursday for a town hall-style debate in Miami, but the president backed out of plans after debate organizers shifted the format to a virtual event following Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
The two will now take questions in different cities on different networks — with Trump on NBC from Miami.
ABC’s Town Hall with Biden starts at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT/ 5 p.m. PT on ABC.
During his atypical campaign upended by the pandemic, the former vice president has had few chances to interact with the public directly as his campaign emphasized coronavirus safety.
ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will moderate the live special edition of “20/20” — titled “The Vice President and the People.” A 30-minute post-show, featuring the ABC News political team for more context and analysis, will follow the town hall portion.
ABC News hosted a similar event in Philadelphia last month for Trump, who took uncommitted voters’ questions about COVID-19, racial justice, health care and more.
Less than a week after Trump was hospitalized for COVID-19, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday that the town hall debate scheduled for Oct. 15 would be held virtually. The commission planned for the candidates to debate remotely as the moderator and voters would attend from Miami, as originally planned.
Shortly after the CPD announcement, Trump’s campaign said he would not attend and host a rally instead. His town hall announcement came Wednesday, one day before the event.
“I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That is not what debating is all about,” the president told Fox Business Oct. 8. “You sit behind a computer and do a debate, it’s ridiculous.”
Trump to face voters’ questions in NBC town hall
In lieu of a formal debate, Trump has agreed to answer voters’ questions during a town hall program sponsored by NBC News on Thursday night.
The event will be held outdoors at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.
NBC News says it has a statement from National Institutes of Health clinical director Dr. Clifford Lane indicating he and White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci have reviewed Trump’s medical data and concluded with a “high degree of confidence” the president is “not shedding infectious virus.”
Trump tested positive for the coronavirus Oct. 2. He spent three days at the Walter Reed military hospital. He resumed public appearances over the weekend and resumed campaign travel Monday.
The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.
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