WASHINGTON — The second 2020 presidential debate this fall will be held in Miami instead of the University of Michigan, which originally planned to host it, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Tuesday.
The university, located in Ann Arbor, concluded that it isn’t feasible to put on the debate, the commission said in a press release, which said that the debate will now be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami on Oct. 15. The Center was the site of the first Democratic presidential primary debate last year.
The commission didn’t specifically say that the coronavirus threat is the reason why the university withdrew as the host, but reports on Monday said that the school was concerned about bringing a large gathering of campaign personnel, supporters and media to its campus.
Michigan was hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, which prompted its Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to impose a restrictive stay-at-home order that lasted about two months and was lifted at the beginning of June.
The second debate will be formatted like a town hall meeting, the commission said, in which people from the Miami area will be able to ask questions of the candidates, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and the third presidential debate will be held Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. All debates will be moderated by only one person, the commission said, and those moderators will be announced in early September.
This comes after the Biden campaign committed the former vice president to participating in no more than the three previously scheduled presidential debates. Trump has been pushing for more general election debates to get added to the schedule.