Trump, Biden To Hold Competing Televised Town Hall Events Thursday In Place Of Debate

( There will be no second presidential debate on Thursday night. In its place will be two separate town halls — one for Democrat Joe Biden and one for President Donald Trump — that will be held at the same time.

The Commission on Presidential Debates changed the October 15 debate to a virtual format after Trump was infected with, and hospitalized because of, coronavirus recently. The president declined to participate in the virtual debate, though, choosing at the time to go on a campaign rally instead.

Following the commission’s decision, Trump said it’d be “ridiculous” to “sit at a computer” to debate his challenger. He said:

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate. I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate.”

Now, Trump will host a town hall event on NBC Thursday night. The event is going to be held in complete compliance with all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will be held outside as well.

This is being done in extreme caution, even though Trump has been deemed no longer contagious. Both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Clifford Lane, who is the clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, said Trump is “not shedding infectious virus.”

Last week, Biden said he wouldn’t participate in an in-person debate with the president if he were still infected with coronavirus. Biden said last week:

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate. I’m not sure what President Trump is all about now. I don’t know what his status is. I’m looking forward to being able to debate him. But I just hope all the protocols are followed, what’s necessary at the time.”

But even though he’s clearly not now, Biden and the commission won’t be resuming the in-person debate for this Thursday.

Savannah Guthrie, an anchor on the Today Show, will be the moderator for the town hall conversation that’ll be held between Trump and some voters from Florida. At the same time, George Stephanopoulos will host a similar town hall with Biden on ABC from Philadelphia.

According to a report, “over a dozen” people who work for CNBC, MCNBC and NBC have said they are angry with their network’s decision to host a town hall event with the president at the same time that ABC is hosting a town hall with Biden.

Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted out as such Wednesday morning, writing:

“I’ve heard from over a dozen NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC sources (talent and staff) and the frustration with an anger toward their employer for scheduling a town hall against Biden is palpable.”

Despite the staffers’ anger, the network will proceed with the debate with the president at the same time. In response to NBC’s scheduling, ABC said it wouldn’t move its event with Biden to a different day or a different time slot. This means that viewers will have to choose between watching one candidate’s town hall or the other’s — or recording one to watch at a later time.