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
Race protests and violence in cities
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.
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.
WaPo/ABC poll:— Damon (@DamonMag) September 27, 2020
• Biden +10 head-to-head
• Biden +6 w/ 3rd party
With third party candidates in the mix, Biden loses 5%, Trump 1%.
Now this is just one poll and it’s not likely for LP/Green candidates to get 6–7% this year, but, wow — 2016 flashbacks. pic.twitter.com/6Wsoz1NlzS
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.