WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden will compete for TV audiences in dueling town halls on Thursday night instead of meeting face-to-face for their second debate as originally planned.
The two will take questions in different cities on different networks: Trump on NBC from Miami, Biden on ABC from Philadelphia.
Trump backed out of plans for the presidential faceoff originally scheduled for the evening after debate organizers said it would be held virtually following Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
The town halls offer a different format for the two candidates to present themselves to voters, after the two held a chaotic and combative first debate late last month. But Trump, speaking on Fox Business on Thursday morning, launched early attacks on Biden, calling him “mentally shot,” a “liar” and a “corrupt politician.” He also said he had no plans to change his tone going forward.
“Many people said I won it, but some people said I was rude. But you have to be rude,” Trump said of the last debate. “The guy’s a liar.”
He also preemptively attacked NBC, charging that it went easy on Biden in a recent interview and asked questions geared for a child.
Trump said NBC asked him to do the town hall.
“It’s a different audience and it’s good for me to have a different audience,” he said.
As the pace of the campaign speeds up in its final weeks, the two candidates first are taking care of other electoral necessities Thursday: Trump has a midday rally in battleground North Carolina, and Biden is raising campaign cash at a virtual event.