Trump vs. Biden Debates: When They’re Happening, How to Watch, Moderators and More Details

Following the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention events, which solidified the presidential nominations for the 2020 election, it’s now time for the next big event in the 2020 general election: The presidential debates between President Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, and Former Vice President Joe Biden, the democratic challenger.

Although some research shows that debates don’t have as much of an effect on voters as some might expect, and President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that his own debate prep has been rather limited in the weeks leading up to the event, Nielsen’s ratings history shows that debates between presidential candidates are usually highly-watched events. So we can probably expect a lot of eyes to tune into the debate stage this year as Trump and Biden take a break from the campaign trail to go head-to-head in their efforts to win over voters for the 2020 election. 

Biden and Trump will appear in a total of three debates before the general election, which takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and is already underway in some states. To help guide your viewership of the 2020 presidential debates, TV Guide has compiled everything you need to know, including details about how and when to tune in, what to expect, where they’ll take place, and more  details you need to know about the forthcoming debates.

When is the first Trump Biden debate? 

The first debate between President Trump, the Republican incumbent, and former Vice President Biden, who is now the Democratic presidential candidate, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9/8c, and it will be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio is traditionally one of the battleground states that factor heavily into election results, and while polls have been close, Trump is currently leading with likely voters in that state. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will serve as moderator for the debate. Wallace was chosen by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which announced its four choices for 2020 debate moderators in early September.

How do I watch the first presidential debate?

The upcoming debate between Trump and democratic nominee Biden will be broadcast on all the major networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and CNN. ABC will stream the debate on ABCNews.com as well as the ABC News and ABC mobile apps, and standalone ABC News Live apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku and Apple TV.

C-SPAN has announced it will stream the debate live on its channel as well as on C-SPAN.com and the C-SPAN Radio app. The Washington Post has also confirmed it will have an uninterrupted live stream of the debate on its website. This story will be updated regularly with additional broadcast, streaming, and online options for voters to view the first debate. 

When are the other debates, and who will moderate?

There will be a total of three presidential debates between incumbent Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden ahead of the November election, along with one vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris, who is running on Biden’s ticket. 

After the first presidential debate, the VP candidates will go head-to-head on Wednesday, Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah, with USA Today‘s Susan Page moderating. The second POTUS debate will then take place on Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida. The event will be town hall-style, per The New York Times, and it will be moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully. Florida is considered a major battleground state for the 2020 election, with very narrow margins in the polls. The third and final Trump-Biden debate, which is the fourth debate overall, will take place one week later on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. NBC’s Kristen Welker will moderate that debate.

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What else do I need to know about the debates?

There have been several items of news and political statements to arise ahead of the 2020 presidential debates that have thus far had no impact on the concrete plans for the debates. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an August interview that she thought Joe Biden should not debate Donald Trump, claiming that Trump doesn’t have any “association with truth, evidence, data, and facts” and that the former Vice President shouldn’t “legitimize” his arguments, but neither the Trump campaign nor the Biden campaign has publicly agreed with her assessment. Biden has, however, proposed a live fact-checking feed and promised to do his own instant fact-checking of Trump throughout the debates. Meanwhile, Trump has suggested an interest in having TV and radio personality Joe Rogen moderate a separate, after Rogen mentioned the idea in a podcast. 

It is not known at this time what issues will be debated by Trump and Biden, but there are current issues aplenty that voters can probably expect the candidates to weigh in on during the scheduled debates, including the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), social unrest, the current economic crisis, and healthcare.

When are the presidential town halls?

Ahead of the debates, both Trump and Biden have committed to doing live network-hosted town halls. Trump’s first town hall took place on ABC on Tuesday, Sept. 15 in Pennsylvania, with George Stephanopoulos overseeing Trump’s Q&A with “uncommitted” voters in the battleground state. Highlights of the event are available at ABC, and a full transcript is also available at ABC

Joe Biden will next participate in a separate town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and a socially-distanced live audience, which takes place in his birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 8/7c on CNN. 

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