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USA Presidential debates 2020: When is Trump and Biden’s final face-off?

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Donald Trump and Joe Biden were supposed to go head-to-head in three debates. But these clashes were thrown into doubt after the president tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mr Trump refused to participate in the second event, set for October 15, after it was announced the event would be held virtually.

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Mr Trump told Fox News, calling the decision “ridiculous” moments after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes.

And on Friday the Commission on Presidential Debates made it official, scrapping the debate, leaving an October 22 event the final Trump-Biden showdown before election day on November 3. Instead, the two candidates took part in live town hall events.

Mr Biden, who duelled with Mr Trump in a bad-tempered and fiery first debate last month, has tested negative for the virus.

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed how the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns will be fought this year, meaning the debates have taken on even more significance than in previous years.

The first and only debate for the two parties’ vice-presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, took place on Wednesday October 7.

When, where and what time are the debates?

September 29, Ohio

The first presidential debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden was a chaotic squabble between the two candidates.

The rivals ripped chunks out of each other on their records and issues such as the economy, coronavirus and racism.

Mr Trump was rebuked several times by Chris Wallace, the moderator, for speaking over his opponent. At one point, after incessant interruptions from the president, Mr Biden said: “Will you shut up, man?”

October 7, Utah

Trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Ms Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration”.

Mr Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year”, yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans.

They also went head-to-head on abortion, the Supreme Court and the environment.

The meeting, which was far more civil than last week’s chaotic face-off between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

October 15, Florida 

The second debate was scrapped, leaving an October 22 event the final Trump-Biden showdown before election day on November 3.

Mr Trump created a political storm after saying he would not participate in the October 15 event because it was being held virtually. 

Mr Biden’s campaign had vowed that its candidate would participate in the new-format debate. “Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people,” the deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said the new measures had been put in place “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate”.

Steve Scully was due to moderate the 90-minute debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

The debate was to take the form of a town hall event, with Miami residents in the audience posing their own questions to the two candidates. 

The candidates instead took place in separate town hall events on Oct 15 (see below).

October 22, Tennessee

The final presidential debate will be at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22 at 9pm ET (2am UK). 

The 90-minute event, moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker, will also be divided into 15-minute segments on prepared topics.

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