Moderators Announced for Trump-Biden Presidential Debates

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

Fox News’ host Chris Wallace will moderate the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, the commission that oversees the debates announced on Wednesday.

Trump and Biden will debate for the first time on Sept. 29 at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The second debate, slated for Miami on Oct. 15, will be moderated by Steve Scully, an executive producer for C-SPAN, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which describes itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit that handles scheduling and details for presidential debates.

Kristen Welker, a White House correspondent for NBC News, was tabbed to moderate the third debate, scheduled in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22.

USA Today’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page is marked down to moderate the sole debate between the vice president and the Democrat nominee.

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will debate in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Oct. 7.

Mike-Pence-1
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Md., on Aug. 26, 2020. (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)
Kamala Harris
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris delivers a campaign speech in Washington on Aug. 27, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates. Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics,” Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., Dorothy Ridings, and Kenneth Wollack, co-chairs of the commission, said in a statement.

None of the four moderators were on a list of potential ones suggested by the Trump campaign last month.

In a statement sent to reporters, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said: “As Joe Biden has said for months—without farcical antics—he looks forward to participating in the debates set by the commission, regardless of who the independently chosen moderators are.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times: “These are not the moderators we would have recommended if the campaign had been allowed to have any input. Some can be identified as clear opponents of President Trump, meaning Joe Biden will actually have a teammate on stage most of the time to help him excuse the radical, leftist agenda he is carrying. One thing is sure: Chris Wallace’s selection ensures that Biden will finally see him face-to-face after dodging his interview requests. That is, if Biden actually shows up.”

Each debate will run for 90 minutes with a 9 p.m. Eastern Time start.

Candidates from parties outside the GOP and Democrat Party will likely not qualify for any of the debates. The commission set a requirement that a candidate must have at least 15 percent support nationally in polls from five organizations approved by the commission, in addition to being on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority.

The first debate will be divided into six segments of about 15 minutes each. The segments will focus on major topics that will be selected by Wallace.

The second debate will be in the form of a town meeting, with candidates answering questions from South Florida residents. The third debate will follow the same format as the first.

The vice presidential debate will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each.

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