The University of Notre Dame became the second university in the United States to step down as host of one of three presidential debates scheduled for this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The university was scheduled to host the inaugural face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on September 29. The first debate will now be hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic of Cleveland, the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates. announced Monday.
The commission chose the Cleveland Clinic as its health advisor for the three presidential debates and the scheduled vice-presidential debate.
Reverend John I Jenkins, president of Notre Dame of South Bend, Indiana, said in a statement that the sanitary precautions necessary to organize the debate “would have significantly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”
Student attendance would be restricted and volunteer opportunities reduced to a minimum, Jenkins said.
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Trump faces a difficult election season as the coronavirus double blow and nationwide protests against police brutality weighed on his approval ratings.
Debate cancellations could bode well for Biden, known for his public blunders.
Trump, who presents himself as the “law and order” candidate, sends unsolicited federal agents to Portland, where they allegedly brutalize largely peaceful protesters. This decision is considered an abuse of executive power.
Biden aimed at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, which Trump largely downplayed in his early months.
“Despite all his boast about his expertise in running the economy, he is unable to explain how he will actually help the hardest hit working families,” Biden said last week when unveiling a plan ‘improved care for children and the elderly. “You know, he quit smoking. He left this country.
The University of Michigan was scheduled to host the second presidential debate but withdrew last month. This debate will now be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
A third presidential debate will take place in Nashville on October 22. A debate between Vice President Mike Pence and the still unknown Democratic running mate will be held in Salt Lake City on October 7.