- Oct. 15, 2020, 7:00 a.m. EST
- The presidential candidates will respond to questions from voters in prime time on Thursday at two live, nationally televised town-hall-style events. Unusually, the programs will be broadcast at the same time on rival networks, although recordings of each event will be available to viewers afterward.
- Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear at an ABC News forum held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and moderated by ABC’s chief news anchor, George Stephanopoulos. The event begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time and is expected to last 90 minutes. A 30-minute wrap-up show, featuring analysis from ABC political reporters and pundits, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m.
- About 21 voters from across Pennsylvania, of varying political views, will be on hand to ask Mr. Biden questions. Mr. Stephanopoulos will guide the discussion and follow up on some of the queries.
- Mr. Biden’s town hall can be seen on ABC television stations throughout the country. It will also be streamed on ABC News Live, an online service that can be watched on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and other streaming platforms, as well as the ABC News website.
- President Trump’s NBC News event will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami and will be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie. The broadcast starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and is expected to last for about an hour.
Biden, Facing Voters in a 2020 Rarity, Attacks Trump From a Battleground State
At a town hall event near Scranton, Pa., the Democratic nominee played up his local roots as he sought to connect with voters after many months off the campaign trail during the pandemic.
The appearance offered a test of his verbal agility less than two weeks before the first presidential debate, after Mr. Biden spent the summer largely off the campaign trail with limited and often controlled interactions with the news media. Headed into the evening, he may have benefited from the low expectations Republicans have set about his ability to communicate clearly, seeking to throw doubt on his mental acuity.
The New York Daily News
Biden reminds America he’s not president after Trump tries to pass the buck on coronavirus mask mandate
You can’t order Americans to wear masks if you aren’t president yet.
Joe Biden reminded President Trump that he’s the one who’s supposed to be running the country — not Democrats — after a rocky televised town hall hosted by ABC News in which the president sought to pass the buck on his bungled response to coronavirus.
Trump squirmed Tuesday night when a retired chemical engineer asked him why he hasn’t pushed mask-wearing to slow the spread of coronavirus even as the pandemic death toll nears 200,000 Americans.
The president tried to flip the question onto Democrats and Biden, even though they obviously have no power to do implement a national mandate and cannot force Trump himself to be a role model as the voter suggested.
“They called for a national mask mandate but they haven’t done it,” he said. “They checked out.”
Trump went on to claim that “many people have a problem with masks,” suggesting that waiters wind up causing more health problems by touching their masks while serving diners.
The mask misstep was only one of a series of shocking gaffes Trump committed in the rare face-to-face encounter with real Americans.
Trump sought to walk back his damaging admission that he “aways downplayed” the pandemic even as he was told it was far more dangerous than most Americans knew last winter.
“I actually up-played it,” Trump said in a stilted remark that is sure to find its way into critical campaign ads.
One voter who needs daily medication to survive chided Trump four interrupting her when she asked him a pointed question about protection for people with preexisting conditions.
An uncomfortable Trump claimed that he doesn’t want to eliminate those protections, even though his move to eliminate Obamacare would do just that.
When Trump sought to claim that he is preparing to roll out his own health care plan soon, ABC News host George Stephanopolous reminded him that he has been making similar claims for four years now.
The town hall featured voters in battleground Pennsylvania. If the tough crowd is any indication of how Trump may fare at the ballot box in November, he is in a world of trouble.RELATED GALLERY
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)1 / 18
Joe Biden’s political career through the years
A Philadelphia pastor quizzed Trump about racism in America, and Trump responded by discussing the occasional looting and violence committed at some racial justice protests.
Rev. Carl Day came away profoundly unimpressed, even though he added that he hasn’t heard enough from Biden to win his vote yet, either.
“He gave his answer by not answering,” Day said on CNN Wednesday morning.
The town hall setting is a particularly poor format for the normally bombastic Trump, who is visibly uncomfortable interacting with anyone except his sycophantic aides and loyal #MAGA supporters.
The upcoming three debates with Biden may be a better fit for Trump, who will get a better chance to fire zingers at his Democratic opponent.
Either way, time is running out for Trump to turn the race around. With seven weeks to go and voters already casting ballots early in some states, he is trailing Biden by nearly 10% in national polls and is behind in all the battleground states, albeit by smaller margins.Dave GoldinerNew York Daily NewsCONTACT
Dave Goldiner is a political reporter at the New York Daily News. A 30-year newsroom veteran, he believes he is the only reporter to cover both the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the death and funeral of South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela on the ground.