The president and former vice president will debate on COVID-19, race relations and climate change, among other hot-button issues.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced the six topics for the second and final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The event is set to take place on Oct. 22 from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET in Tennessee.
The topics are: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security,” and “Leadership.”
The format for the debate, which will be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, remains the same as the first: each candidate will have two minutes to respond after the moderator opens each segment with a question. The moderator will use the rest of each 15-minute segment to delve into the issue and elicit further discussion among the candidates.
Changing the Rules
After the chaos of the first debate, which devolved into a shouting match marked by Trump’s constant interruptions and frequent cross talk among the candidates, former vice president Biden called Trump’s performance a “national embarrassment,” and requested that the debate commission change the rules to allow for a more coherent debate. The Trump campaign has strongly objected to any changes to the rules.
On Sept. 30, the CPD agreed, in essence, and issued a statement saying that “last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” On Oct. 19, the CPD announced a plan to mute an opposing candidate’s microphone while the other person speaks.
Trump’s Comments Ahead of Final Debate
On Saturday, President Trump again levied accusations of bias against a debate moderator. This time, the Republican incumbent claimed in a tweet that NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker, who is slated to moderate the Oct. 22 final debate between both presidential candidates, has “always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters…”
This claim followed a tweet by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., which linked to a New York Post article alleging that Welker has “deep Democrat ties.” However, an NBC spokesperson said that since registering to vote in Washington, DC, in 2012, Welker has not had any party affiliation.
A Troubled History
President Trump and Biden’s second debate, which was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, was canceled after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate due to his positive coronavirus diagnosis Oct. 2, which left him hospitalized for three days.
Instead, on the night of the debate both candidates participated in dueling town halls. Starting at 8 p.m., Biden appeared on ABC and Trump on NBC for an hour-long town hall which he called “a set-up,” as he disliked the questions posed by Savannah Guthrie, saying that she went “totally crazy” on him.