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President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will participate in separate town hall events Thursday, hosted by NBC and ABC, respectively, and airing in the competing time slot of 5 p.m. PT.
Trump’s event will take place outdoors at the Perez Art Museum in Miami and include issues critical to Florida voters. It will be moderated by Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, who will stand 12 feet apart from Trump and the socially distanced audience, who are required to take temperature checks upon arrival and wear face masks while on the premises.
Biden’s 90-minute town hall will take place in Philadelphia, moderated by George Stephanopoulos. According to ABC, there will be 21 voters in attendance and 319 empty seats to enforce social distancing, along with 21 socially distanced crewmembers working at the event.
Due to the events airing at the same time, NBC received backlash from current and former employees, as well as Hollywood figures such as J.J. Abrams and Ava DuVernay, who protested its timing in a petition to NBCUniversal executives.
NBC confirmed Thursday morning that the event would proceed as scheduled. “We share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden,” said NBC News Group chairman Cesar Conde. “Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations.”
Thursday would have been the date of the second presidential debate, which was set to take place in a town hall format moderated by C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully. After Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the event was reimagined in a virtual format and ultimately canceled when Trump declined to participate.
Decision 2020: Trump Town Hall will air on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC at 5 p.m. PT. It will also stream on NBC News NOW and be available in Spanish on Telemundo’s digital platforms.
Biden’s town hall will air at 5 p.m. PT on ABC, while also streaming on ABC News.
View the two events below.
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