2nd Presidential Debate To Be Held in Florida

Joe Biden Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr; Donald Trump Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The second presidential debate is tentatively set to be held on Thursday, October 15th. The debate is scheduled to be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Downtown Miami. The debate will be formatted like a town hall meeting in which people from Miami will be able to ask questions of President Donald Trump and his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The debate was moved from Michigan to Florida due to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, determining it was no longer “feasible” to host the debate, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates is the nonpartisan commission that sponsors the formal election year presidential debates. The announcement was made Tuesday (June 23) by the Commission.

The decision to move the debate from Michigan to Florida was based on growing concerns about holding a large gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Michigan cited concerns about bringing large numbers of national and international media and campaign officials to the campus.

“It is with great disappointment that I must ask for the University of Michigan to be released from its agreement with the Commission on Presidential Debates to host the Presidential Debate on Oct. 15, 2020,” Michigan’s president,  Mark Schlissel, said in a statement Tuesday.

He added: “In consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned.’’

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Downtown Miami. Photo: www.arshtcenter.org

With this backtrack in holding the presidential debate at the University, the former host sees millions of dollars lost and time wasted in making preparations for such an important event. Presidential general election debates cost their hosts millions of dollars, sums universities typically raise from their own large donors in order to bask in the prestige of hosting an event that draws international attention. 

The coronavirus pandemic already creates a strain on the universities’ resources, stretching budgets and making large gatherings of students and donors on campus a risky move.

The debate will become the second major presidential campaign event to move to Florida after officials elsewhere raised concerns about large gatherings being safe during the coronavirus pandemic. After officials in North Carolina, including Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, sought assurances that delegates would adhere to social distancing at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, the Trump campaign announced that President Trump would instead accept the G.O.P. nomination in Jacksonville, Fla.

President Trump has sought to alter the debate schedule, add a fourth debate to the planned three and exert more control over the selection of moderators, which is typically handled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The campaign of Mr. Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has rebuffed his proposals, dismissing them as a “distraction.”

The Second Presidential Debate will air live on ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, and NBC.