The vice presidential debate is scheduled Oct. 7 at the University of Utah, between Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate. USA Today’s Susan Page will moderate.
The second presidential debate, originally set for the University of Michigan before the pandemic, is planned Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Steve Scully of C-SPAN will moderate the town hall meeting format.
The final debate before the election is set Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, with NBC’s Kristen Welker moderating.
On Monday, Trump and Biden focused their presidential battle on the wildfire-scorched West Coast. Trump was scheduled to meet with fire officials in California. Biden said the fires and recent extreme weather underscore an urgent need to address climate change.
California wildfires transform Bay Area skies into apocalyptic scenes
The dueling events marked a stark moment on the campaign trail, where the two candidates' dramatically contrasting outlooks on climate change — and the impact it has had on the record-setting fires ravaging California, Oregon and Washington state — were front-and-center.
Biden lashed at Trump, saying the moment requires “leadership, not scapegoating” and that “it’s clear we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.”
“This is another crisis, another crisis he won’t take responsibility for,” Biden said. “If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would we be surprised that we have more America ablaze?”
Trump, who was briefed during a stop near Sacramento before a campaign visit to Phoenix, tweeted appreciation of firefighters and emergency responders on Friday, the first public comments he had made in weeks about the fires that have killed at least 33, burned millions of acres and forced thousands from their homes on the West Coast.
Trump has also blamed Western Democratic leaders, saying poor forest management is to blame for the fires that have created a hellscape in big swaths of the West.
At his campaign rally Sunday in Nevada, Trump contended anew that Democratic state leaders are to blame for failing to rake leaves and clear dead timber from forest floors. However, many of the blazes have roared through coastal chaparral and grasslands, not forest.
Biden, who gave his climate speech in Delaware on Monday, released a $2 trillion plan in July to boost investment in clean energy and stop all climate-damaging emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035.
Harris is returning to her home state Tuesday to meet with emergency service personnel to be briefed on the state’s wildfires.