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Sparks to Fly as Trump, Biden Ditch Handshakes and Masks for First Showdown

© AP PhotoFILE - In this combination of file photos, former Vice-President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on 12 March 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on 5 April 2020. Trump has accused his Democratic rival Biden of having connections to the “radical left” and has pilloried his relationship with China, his record on criminal justice, his plans for the pandemic and even his son's business dealings. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this combination of file photos, former Vice-President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on 12 March 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on 5 April 2020. Trump has accused his Democratic rival Biden of having connections to the “radical left” and has pilloried his relationship with China, his record on criminal justice, his plans for the pandemic and even his son's business dealings. (AP Photo, File) - Sputnik International
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On 29 September, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are scheduled to face each other in the first of three presidential debates, with the representatives of the two candidates having hammered out the final details of the face-off.

US President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his Democratic rival in the forthcoming election, are gearing up for going face to face in their first debate in the run up to November's election.

Campaign sources of the two sides have shared details of the event, slated for 29 September, that has been altered to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, writes Politico.

For example, to comply with social-distancing rules, the rivals will forego the traditional pre-debate handshake but have also dismissed its coronavirus-era substitute – the elbow-bump – on the grounds that it is too cringe-making.

The debate will take place at the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and the venue has confirmed that none of the participants will wear a mask.

Trump will stand to the right and Biden to the left at their respective podiums, with the debate chaired by Fox News host Chris Wallace.

In another concession to the pandemic, the audience will be limited to between 75 and 80 people, all of whom will have been tested for COVID-19 before attending the 90-minute event.

It was decided by flipping a coin that the first question of the debate will go to Donald Trump.

There are six questions in six sections, 15 minutes each, ]the sections being:

Trump's and Biden's records

Supreme Court

Coronavirus pandemic

Race protests and violence in cities

Election integrity

Economy

© REUTERS / ALEXANDER DRAGOYard signs supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden are seen outside of an early voting site at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020.
Sparks to Fly as Trump, Biden Ditch Handshakes and Masks for First Showdown - Sputnik International
Yard signs supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden are seen outside of an early voting site at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020.

Trump and Biden will each get two minutes to respond to the question before the back-and-forth begins. After the event, the media will have to rely on virtual interviews instead of the traditional follow-up spin-room coverage.

The next two debates are due to be held on 15 October in Miami, Florida, and 22 October in Nashville, Tennessee.

© REUTERS / POOLVice presidential nominee Kamala Harris attends a memorial service in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in Statuary Hall at the Capitol, Washington, U.S. on September 25, 2020
Sparks to Fly as Trump, Biden Ditch Handshakes and Masks for First Showdown - Sputnik International
Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris attends a memorial service in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in Statuary Hall at the Capitol, Washington, U.S. on September 25, 2020

Respective running mates, Vice-President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris will also go head-to-head, on 7 October in Salt Lake City, Utah.

​Trump heads into the debate trailing former Vice-President Biden.
The President’s Democratic rival retains a 10-point lead nationally against Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

As the debate approaches the two candidates have been trading insults, with Trump accusing Biden of being supportive of the "radical left" and being a "low-energy individual", while casting doubt on his rival's mental health.

Biden has slammed Trump for "lying" about the coronavirus pandemic and claimed the President downplays alleged threats of "Russian meddling" in the presidential election.

In his most recent diatribe, Biden likened Trump to Goebbels, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's most prominent propagandist.

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