Trump to hold town hall in Florida at same time as Biden event

The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided that the Oct. 15 debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will not be held in person.

President Donald Trump will answer questions from Florida voters in a televised outdoor town hall Thursday in Miami — at the same time as a similar event held by Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Philadelphia.

The competing campaign stops have taken the place of a second presidential debate that was canceled last week after Trump refused to participate in a virtual match, calling it “ridiculous.”

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Trump’s hourlong town hall at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami will begin at 8 p.m. and be moderated by “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie, according to NBC, the network airing the event.

Trump also submitted to an independent coronavirus test with the results reviewed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to The Associated Press.

NIH clinical director Dr. Clifford Lane also reviewed Trump’s medical records and both he and Fauci said they had a high degree of confidence that the president is “not shedding infectious virus,” AP reports.

NBC said Trump would be at least 12 feet from Guthrie and the audience, who will be socially distanced, required to wear a mask and submit to a temperature check before entering the venue, NBC said.

Meanwhile, Biden’s town hall in Philadelphia, which will be moderated by George Stephanopoulos, will air on ABC at the same time as Trump’s but will run for 90 minutes.

Florida is a critical battleground state for Trump, who is trailing Biden by significant margins nationally and in key swing states with the election less than three weeks away.

Biden made a stop in the state earlier this week.

Trump has returned to holding large campaign rallies this week after doctors cleared him for public events following his recovery from the coronavirus after a three-day hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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Observers expect far fewer people to tune in for the town hall events than the estimated 73.1 million people who watched the first debate between the two last month, the Nielsen company said.

An estimated 6.7 million people saw Biden at an NBC News-sponsored town hall last week. Like the Trump event on Thursday will be, it was simulcast on MSNBC, CNBC and streamed online.

Trump’s town hall with Stephanopoulos on Sept. 15 was seen by 3.8 million people, Nielsen said.

The final debate between the candidates is scheduled Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

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