The first presidential debate between presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump on Sept 29. has been moved from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, to a Cleveland site co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, organizers of the event announced Monday.
“I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding,” Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement. “But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw.”
It’s currently unclear what format the debate would take, but it is likely that the event will not have a live studio audience.
In March, the final Democratic primary debate between Biden and Bernie Sanders did not have an audience, as the U.S. dealt with the early stages of the outbreak.
The debate will be especially important for Trump, as public opinion turns against the incumbent due to his handling of hot-button issues such as coronavirus and race relations.
Recent polls show Biden handily leading Trump nationwide and in key swing states.