President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will spar for 90 minutes over the Supreme Court, the coronavirus, voting integrity and “race and violence in our cities,” organizers of the first head-to-head election debate said on Tuesday.
Trump and Biden will address each of those four topics on Sept. 29, as well as discuss the economy and their track records in six segments scheduled to last 15 minutes apiece, the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement.
This will be the first debate in a presidential campaign season upended by a pandemic that has complicated plans to hold in-person voting, killed more than 200,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death on Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has rapidly become a major campaign focus, with the prospect of a 6-3 conservative majority galvanizing voters in both parties.
Topics were selected by the debate’s moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
The matchup will be the candidates’ first in-person debate. Early voting is already under way in several states ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The format is intended “to encourage deep discussion of the leading issues facing the country,” the debate organizers said, adding that subjects could change as news develops.
Trump and Biden will have a limited audience in person due to the pandemic but are expected to draw millions of viewers to watch commercial-free on television.
Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are hosting the debate on their shared campus in Cleveland. Trump and Biden are due to debate twice more, on Oct. 15 and 22.