The future of the third presidential debate, hosted by Belmont University in Nashville later this month, is uncertain after the decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to switch the second debate to a virtual format.
But university officials are still hopeful it will work out.
John Carney, Belmont’s vice president of marketing and communications, told WPLN News on Thursday the university is still preparing for what they expect to be an in-person debate.
“We need to be ready in two weeks, and so we really don’t have time to dwell on ‘what ifs,’ ” Carney said. “Would we be disappointed? Sure. But I’d be no less proud of what our community has done to fulfill our commitment to be ready for this very important thing.”
On Thursday morning, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the Oct. 15 Florida debate — the second one on this cycle — was not going to take place face-to-face. The organization cited health concerns after President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 results.
But by Thursday afternoon, questions surrounding the event had significantly increased, with Trump saying he would not participate if the debate was virtually. He said he was going to host a rally instead.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden agreed to do a town hall on that same day with ABC News.
Their reactions have created confusion on whether the next debates will happen. But Belmont’s President Bob Fisher said the university will be ready for whatever happens.
“You just gotta roll with it, baby,” Fisher said, quoting the lyrics of Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It.” “We just have to be ready to be versatile, flexible, and to do whatever it is that gets this show done, that gets these two candidates together to exchange ideas.”