Trump to participate in NBC town hall on Thursday, competing with Biden event
President Trump will participate in an NBC News town hall held outdoors in Miami on Thursday, the network announced, setting up an evening of competing events featuring the incumbent president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The events will take place in lieu of the second presidential debate between Trump and Biden, which was canceled last week after the president objected to new plans for a virtual format. The next and final debate will be held on Oct. 22.
Thursday’s town hall will be moderated by “Today” host Savannah Guthrie and will take place outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, NBC News announced early Wednesday. Public health guidelines will be followed amid the coronavirus pandemic, the network added. The event will air at 8 p.m. for one hour, with Guthrie moderating a conversation between Trump and Florida voters on various issues.
Biden previously announced that he would take part in an ABC News town hall the same evening in Philadelphia, which will air at the same time as Trump’s town hall and will run for 90 minutes.
The NBC News event will offer Trump the opportunity to make the case to voters in a crucial battleground state and across the nation for his reelection. Trump is currently trailing Biden nationally by a significant margin and in key swing states, and is facing limited time to turn his campaign around.
The dueling events come as both candidates traverse the country to court voters as the presidential election — three weeks away — draws nearer. Trump, who revealed less than two weeks ago that he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, returned to large campaign rallies this week after being cleared for public events by his doctor.
The president is holding rallies daily this week, including an event in Iowa on Wednesday evening. He will also be in North Carolina for a campaign event in the afternoon on Thursday prior to the town hall.
Biden recently traveled to Pennsylvania over the weekend and made stops in Ohio and Florida at the beginning of this week.
The Commission on Presidential Debates canceled the second debate between Trump and Biden, scheduled for Thursday, last week after Trump and his campaign vocally objected to the commission’s decision to make it virtual for health and safety reasons. The move came days after Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received treatment for COVID-19, and before the White House said he had been cleared for public events.
NBC News said Wednesday that the network had received a statement from Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, stating that he and Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, had reviewed Trump’s latest medical data, including a PCR test collected on Tuesday, and concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that Trump is “not shedding infectious virus.”
White House physician Sean Conley said Monday that Trump had tested negative for the coronavirus on consecutive days using an antigen test.
Updated at 7:51 a.m.