Trump and Biden to Battle in Competing Town Halls on Thursday

The one-hour event sets up showdown with Joe Biden’s town hall on ABC that night

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NBC News announced Wednesday that it will host a town hall event with President Donald Trump on Thursday, setting up a showdown with Democratic rival Joe Biden, who will participate in his own event on ABC that same night.

NBC’s “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie will moderate the one-hour event, which will be held outdoors at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum under guidelines of local health officials.

Biden will participate in a 90-minute town hall on ABC moderated by “GMA” anchor George Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia. Both events will begin at 5 p.m. PT.

The dueling town halls emerged after the cancellation of the second presidential debate, which was supposed to take place on Thursday before Trump withdrew due to the bipartisan debate commission’s plan to make the event virtual following the president’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month.

Also on Wednesday, an independent body indicated for the first time that Trump may no longer be contagious. Dr. Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, told NBC News that he and Anthony Fauci had reviewed Trump’s recent medical data and found “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding infectious virus.”

That confirmation comes as the president — who first disclosed his diagnosis on Oct. 2 and was hospitalized for four days — has quickly resumed work in the Oval Office and ramped up campaign events where crowds have gathered without following social-distancing protocols and often without wearing masks.

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