The first presidential debate has been moved to Cleveland amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Monday that Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic will co-host the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The move follows Notre Dame decision to withdraw from hosting a presidential debate scheduled for September 29 due to “concerns over COVID-19.”

Notre Dame announced:

After consultation with Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County deputy health officer, and with the unanimous support of the Executive Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees, Father Jenkins made what he called “this difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”

“I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding,” said the Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in a statement. “But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw.”

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The relocated debate will be held on the Health Education Campus, a joint project between Case Western and the Cleveland Clinic.

This is the second of the three presidential debates to be moved due to the pandemic. The second debate, which is scheduled for Oct. 15, will now be held in Miami, after the University of Michigan dropped out last month.

The third debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Belmont University, in Nashville, Tenn.

Case Western said that its partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, which the CPD has previously tapped to serve as a “health security adviser,” made hosting a debate more feasible.

The Ohio-based university said that it will establish “risk-mitigation procedures” for the debate, such as limiting crowd sizes and distancing seats. The university said in a press release that more details will be determined — including if there’s an audience at all — will be determined closer to the event, depending “on the status of the pandemic,” according to Politico.

Many are now doubting whether Biden will debate President Trump at all.

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77-year-old Joe Biden also won’t take candid questions from reporters so it’s unlikely he will actually get in the ring with President Trump. We shall see.


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