Like almost everything Trump involved, his plans are subject to change.
Several sources familiar with the plan said the Trump team was in talks with NBC about the town hall. “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie will be the moderator. Sources said the incident conditioned the president doing negative tests for the coronavirus.
The town hall will be in a public setting in Miami, just as NBC recently hosted with Biden, those sources said.
No announcement has been made so far by NBC, the network on which Trump operates, but he routinely attacks a news outlet whose parent company, Comcast, calls him “Concast” – or propaganda.
Biden’s plan is even stronger. He was ready to attend Thursday’s Town Hall on ABC, moderated by George Stefanopoulos, at 8 p.m.
In light of Trump’s coronavirus illness, the ABC and Biden campaign announced the event on October 8, the same serious day that the Debate Commission changed its long – term schedule to “virtual” format. Trump was quick to point out that he was not in a hurry, and his campaign aides broke with the Commission on Presidential Negotiations for changing the format without any consultation.
So Biden Camp called ABC, which built the town hall with Trump in September and wanted to do the same with Biden.
“He, Donald Trump, refused to attend the virtual town hall, so we scheduled a national network town hall instead, so Joe Biden could take questions from voters,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedinfield told CNN’s State of the Union.
The Trump campaign, which has lagged well behind in the election, has devised tricks to get the calendar and the debate back in person. At one point, the campaign proposed to move the other two talks back a week to October 22 and 29.
But the bilateral commission did not come up with that proposal publicly. And Biden’s campaign rejected it, arguing that Beddingfield “agreed to these dates in June and did not try to rewrite the rules at the last minute.”
Republican Party officials and Fox commentators have hit the commission in recent days. Republican National Committee Chairman Rona McDaniel told CBS the “Corruption” Commission “interfered with our ability to see the debate between these two candidates.”
“That commission includes Republicans,” said moderator Margaret Brennan, “because of health issues.”
“Well, they’re not impartial Republicans,” McDaniel said. “Those Republicans were severely critical of this president.”
The message from Trump’s allies is everywhere, White House Deputy Communications Director Brian Morgenstern said Sunday that the commission should reschedule the debate that was canceled due to Trump’s decision to withdraw.
“The president is ready for the debate and his doctors have cleared him for participating in public events,” Morgenstern told reporters Sunday. “They said he was no longer in danger of broadcasting, so it would be nice if the commission resumed discussion on the schedule.”
Otherwise, Morgenstern says, Trump will hold Town Hall – a reference to the NBC program.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser on the Trump campaign, told Fox on Friday that “like Biden, we’re going to be on multiple networks at once.”
This is because NBC imitates Trump Town Hall on its cable properties, MSNBC and CNBC, as well as broadcast the October 5 event with Biden. The event had a total audience of 6.7 million on TV and was also shown on NBC and Telemundo’s digital platforms.
“Next Thursday we have more spectators than Joe,” Miller added.
The planned town hall-type debate will reach at least 60 million spectators, judging by the September debate and the ratings of past election cycles.
Both Biden and Trump will settle for a much smaller audience by having their town halls on Thursday.
– Caitlin Collins, CNN, Jason Hoffman and Arlette Zeng reporting