The topics for next week’s final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have been released.
The currently embattled Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that the candidates will discuss leadership, the coronavirus pandemic, issues of race, families, national security and climate change.
NEW: Kristen Welker, moderator of the Oct. 22 presidential debate at @BelmontUniv, has selected topics: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, Leadership #Debates2020 https://t.co/kFWvRzIljv
— CPD (@debates) October 16, 2020
Kristen Welker of NBC News, the moderator of the 90-minute debate, selected the topics.
The debate commission called off the second debate after the supposedly nonpartisan body unilaterally decided to make the forum virtual.
Trump declined such a forum, saying, “That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”
The debate was ultimately canceled after the moderator, C-SPAN host Steve Scully, posted a tweet last week publicly seeking the advice of Trump opponent Anthony Scaramucci.
Scully initially claimed his account had been “hacked,” but he eventually admitted he was lying and was suspended by his employer.
Welker deactivated her Twitter account ahead of the debate, Fox News reported.
The Scully saga was the latest black eye for the body that chooses debate dates, formats and moderators.
The commission chose Fox News host Chris Wallace, a Democrat, to moderate the first debate last month.
The result was a two-on-one verbal scuffle that saw Wallace and Biden appear to be aligned against the president.
During the vice presidential debate in Utah between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, moderator Susan Page of USA Today at times appeared hostile toward Pence when attempting to cut him off.
Page, who is the biographer for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also asked the vice president what seemed to be loaded questions.
The events of the last few weeks have called into question the debate commission’s integrity.
The third debate, which is being moderated by Welker, will be a test to see if the commission can regain some semblance of impartiality.
The topics announced Friday raised questions about bias, with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas noting on Twitter, “Conveniently, those are the titles of each of policy tabs Joe Biden’s campaign website.”
Conveniently, those are the titles of each of policy tabs Joe Biden’s campaign website.
Apparently NOT relevant for the debate:
Jobs & Restarting the Economy
Securing the Boarder
Stopping Riots & Crime
The Second Amendment https://t.co/Cye4ePicML
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 16, 2020
Welker’s employer, NBC, unleashed “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie on the president Thursday evening during an event billed as a town hall.
Guthrie was notably aggressive with Trump and often spoke over the president while also asking questions loaded with inferences that he is courting conspiracy theorists and white supremacists.
She also incorrectly stated that there is “no evidence of widespread fraud” with regard to mail-in ballots.
Now, another of NBC’s stars has a chance to either salvage the debate commission’s reputation or continue where her network colleague left off Thursday by using her position as moderator to debate the president.
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