First Presidential Debate Moved To Cleveland Over Coronavirus Concerns

The first presidential debate for the 2020 election will now be held in Cleveland after the University of Notre Dame in Indiana withdrew as a host site for the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The debate between President Donald Trump and presumably Democratic rival Joe Biden will now be hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. The event is scheduled to take place at the Samson Pavilion on the university’s Health Education Campus on Sept. 29.

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, announced Monday that the university was withdrawing as the host, noting that the health precautions the campus would have to take “would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”

“The inevitable reduction in student attendance in the debate hall, volunteer opportunities and ancillary educational events undermined the primary benefit of hosting — to provide our students with a meaningful opportunity to engage in the American political process,” Jenkins said in a statement.

“In the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw,” he added.

Jenkins made the decision after consulting with St. Joseph County deputy health officer Dr. Mark Fox. The university’s board of trustees’ executive committee gave its unanimous support, according to a news update from the school.

The second presidential debate, set to take place on Oct. 15, was also moved to a new location this summer. The University of Michigan dropped out as host in June, and the second debate was moved to Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

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