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Topics for tonight's final presidential debate include COVID-19, race and national security

Posted at 6:34 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 09:00:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s a historic night in Music City as Belmont University hosts a sitting President and a former Vice President for the final presidential debate of 2020.

The 90-minute debate will be split into 15-minute segments, with each candidate having two minutes of uninterrupted time at the start of each topic. During that time, the opponent's mic will be off. However, the mics won't be muted during open discussion.

The topics that will be discussed tonight are: fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

This week, President Trump's campaign manager sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, demanding the committee to "rethink and reissue" the topics.

His campaign is accusing debate organizers of helping former Vice President Joe Biden by leaving out foreign policy as a topic. However, Biden's team responded saying everyone agreed that the topics would be determined by the moderator.

The CPD responded and said “no debate in 2020 was ever designated by (the commission) as devoted to foreign or domestic policy."

With that said, the president is expected to still grill Biden on his son Hunter’s business ties, as well as his foreign policy record in the Obama administration and as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The Washington Post reports.

MTSU professor John Vile says when the emphasis is on COVID-19, Biden does very well. He expects Trump to make a big splash tonight and continue to emphasize his stance on the economy and stock market.

“It's basically ‘you know I had this perfect economy everything was going right and then COVID ambushed me but don't worry about it, we're coming back, we're turning the corner we're going to have four years of economic growth,’” said Dr. John Vile, MTSU Political Science Professor.

The president called the decision on the topics unfair and the moderator of the debate as biased.

Originally, the Commission on Presidential Debates scheduled three forums between the candidates. The second debate, which would have been held town hall style, was canceled after President Donald Trump declined to participate when the commission announced the debate would be held virtually due to Trump's recent coronavirus infection.

** The Scripps National Desk contributed to this report.