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Debate Timeline

Second presidential debate scheduled for October 15, 2020.

October 8, 2020:

  • In light of superspreader event at the White House, and the president's infection, Commission on Presidential Debates announces the second presidential debate will be a town hall conducted virtually.
  • Biden agrees, President Trump cancels. He is afraid doing it virtually will make him look weak. (He has conducted many television and phone interviews, but there is no record he has ever been on a Zoom meeting.)
  • Since the debate is cancelled, Biden agrees to do a nationally televised town hall from Philadelphia on ABC in the time slot the original debate had been planned to occupy.
  • Trump announces he will do a rally on October 15, opposite Biden's town hall. This would be in-person.
  • Trump's advisers explain that the debate (and Biden's town hall) will reach an audience far larger than the committed Fox viewers who will watch his rally. Perhaps 20 million versus 4 million.
  • Trump releases a note from his doctor saying that he is all better and by the time of the debate will definitely positively test negative for the virus, and says he is back in the debate, provided it is done in-person.
  • The CDP and the Biden team explain that it's too late to change the schedule again, and even if they did they will not back down on doing it virtually. The Biden team requests that the third debate (October 22) be changed to the town hall format originally intended for the second debate.
  • Trump announces he will spend October 9 on Rush Limbaugh's radio show and then get a health exam live on Tucker Carlson's show later that night.
  • A new Pew Research poll released October 9 gives Biden a double-digit lead.