The 2020 U.S. election — touted as most important election in the country's modern political history — is set to enter its last leg by kicking off presidential debate on Tuesday, Sept. 29. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will face-off at the first of the three debates that will run through October.
The U.S., which is battling the coronavirus pandemic, witnessed a spate of social unrest in recent months following George Floyd's death and these developments will be the focal point of the debates. On Tuesday, the two presidential contenders will debate on various topics including the Supreme Court and the integrity of the election — both controversial subjects that have nearly polarised the nation.
What time is the first presidential debate?
The first debate between Trump and Biden will start at 9 p.m. ET at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It will last for 90 minutes and Fox News host Chris Wallace will be the moderator of the debate.
Owing to the pandemic, the audience will limit between 80 and 90 people, who have been tested for coronavirus. Trump and Biden will not shake hands and safety precautions will be implemented as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Livestream of the first presidential debate
In the U.S., major cable networks such as ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, will cover the debate live. Similarly, the debate will be live-streamed on their networks' YouTube channels. ABC News, CBS, CSPAN, have set up their livestream on YouTube and viewers can set a reminder for the debate.
Topics for the first presidential debate
Wallace will ask questions to Trump and Biden on their records, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, racial unrest and violent protests across the U.S., and the election's integrity. The 90-minute debate will be divided into 15 minutes for the six topics.
How has Trump prepared for the debate?
Trump did not formally prepare for the first presidential debate, according to reports citing his aides and allies. However, on Sunday he told reporters he had practice sessions with New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — combining to play the role of Biden. Trump did not leave the opportunity to mock Biden saying both Giuliani and Christie have been about "five times smarter" than his Democratic challenger.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he will be "strongly demanding" a drug test for Biden before or after Cleveland showdown. He also attacked Biden's past debate performances calling them "uneven."
Over the weekend, the president shared videos of Biden with his social media followers in an attempt to discredit the Democratic presidential nominee's speaking abilities. However, Trump, too, has made gaffes with mispronouncing names and words on several occasions.
According to reports, Trump will likely highlight Biden's son Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine when the former was vice president and led anti-corruption efforts involving the country. However, Hunter denied any wrongdoing.
How has Biden prepared for the debate?
Biden's campaign said he will not fact-check Trump's every statement made during the debate. The Democratic presidential nominee will reportedly not get into confrontations with the president. On Saturday, he spoke about his strategy in an interview with MSNBC.
"It is going to be difficult. I know — I mean my guess it's going to be just straight attacks. They're gonna be mostly personal. That's the only thing he knows how to do. He doesn't know how to debate the facts because he's not that smart. He doesn't know that many facts," Biden said. "I'm prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he's failed and why I think the answers I have to proceed will help the American people, the American economy and make us safer internationally."
Biden will reportedly discuss the Affordable Healthcare Act — that will be presented in the Supreme Court a week after the Nov. 3 election. The Trump administration and the Senate have been actively pushing to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a liberal icon — with highly conservative Amy Coney Barret, who has been officially nominated for the seat by Trump.