NBC News to Host Trump Town Hall at Same Time as ABC News-Biden Town Hall

By A.J. Katz 

Over the summer, The Commission on Presidential Debates and the Trump and Biden campaigns agreed that the second presidential debate between the two candidates would take place Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami.

Fast forward to the day prior, and it appears not only will the second CPD-sanctioned debate (a “town hall-style forum”) not take place on Oct. 15, but the candidates will now be participating in dueling town halls hosted by broadcast networks on that date.

How did it come to this? Early last week, the CPD proposed a virtual debate due to Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis. Trump declined to participate. Then on Thursday, ABC News announced it would host a prime-time town hall featuring former Vice President Biden on Oct. 15 in Philadelphia.


Not to be outdone, NBC News announced today (Wednesday, Oct. 14) that it would host a prime-time town hall with President Trump on that exact same date, Oct. 15, at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami.

The candidates might not be going head-to-head, but it appears the networks are.

The ABC Town Hall with Biden moderated by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will air from 8-10 p.m. ET (90-minute town hall, 30-minute post-show), and now the NBC Town Hall with Trump will last an hour, 8- 9 p.m. ET and air across NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, CNBC and streaming service NBC News Now.

Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie will assume moderator duties.

Both Guthrie and the president will be at least 12 feet apart from each other and the audience. The audience will also be socially distanced and required to wear face masks while on the premises, answer a symptoms questionnaire and take a temperature check prior to entering the outdoor venue. Every NBC News staffer will be tested on site in Miami.

According to NBC News, the event will take place in accordance with guidelines set forth by health officials and consistent with all government regulations.

NBC News says it has been given a statement by Dr. Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), indicating that he and Dr. Anthony Fauci have reviewed the president’s recent medical data, including a PCR test collected and analyzed by NIH on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and have concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding infectious virus.”

The decision to run this town hall on the same night as the Biden-ABC Town Hall is not sitting well with many.

From the former ABC News chief:

From a former NBC News anchor:

From a former high-ranking NBC News producer:

A response to that:

From the former founding editor-in-chief of MSNBC.com:

Perhaps the harshest of messages came from someone who spent 37 years at the network.

I am dismayed—more like disgusted— by NBC’s decision to air Trump’s “I wont play by the rules so let me make my own…

Posted by Cheryl Gould on Wednesday, October 14, 2020