Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Debate Moderators

presidential debate moderators
Steve Pope/Getty Images, CSPAN, Twitter

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has selected the moderators for the three upcoming presidential debates — Fox News’s Chris Wallace, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, and NBC’s Kristen Welker.

The commission has selected the moderators for the upcoming debates, the first of which will occur later this month, September 29. Fox News’s Chris Wallace will serve as the moderator for the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

The second debate, scheduled for October 15, will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, and moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully. The third debate, which will occur the following week on October 22, will take place at Nashville, Tennessee’s, Belmont University, where NBC’s Kristen Welker will moderate.

According to the CPD, the first and third debates will be “divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.” The second presidential debate will “take the form of a town meeting, in which the questions will be posed by citizens from the South Florida area,” per the commission.

The October 7 debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Joe Biden’s (D) running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Salt Lake City. USA Today’s Susan Page will moderate the event.

“We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates,” CPD co-chairs Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., Dorothy S. Ridings, and Kenneth Wollack said in a statement.

“Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics,” they added.

The announcement follows the Trump campaign’s August 31 letter requesting a “formal, detailed plan for in-person debates in the event that location hosts withdraw because of the coronavirus or other reasons.”

“Without this sort of detailed information, we remain convinced that Biden will retreat to the safety of his remote video link, where he can rely on handlers, a teleprompter, or notes positioned near the camera as he clearly did on CNN last week,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani wrote in the letter, also requesting “re-stated written confirmation” that the former vice president will participate in the debates following mounting calls from supporters to avoid them.

“There have been numerous instances of Biden saying one thing about a given topic in public, only to have his campaign come behind him and clean up his statements after the fact,” Giuliani said.

“While he may verbally give vague assertions of his intentions, there is no way of knowing what his handlers truly have planned for him,” he added. “Presidential debates are too vital to the dissemination of information to voters to leave their very existence subject to the whims of political consultants pulling Joe Biden’s strings.”

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