Notre Dame withdraws from hosting US presidential debate

im????The university, the second to pull out as a host, said holding the event would require too many health precautions.

    In this combination of file photos, former United States Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware and US President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, the US [File: AP Photos]
    In this combination of file photos, former United States Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware and US President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, the US [File: AP Photos]

    im????The University of Notre Dame has become the second United States university to withdraw as the host of one of this fall's three scheduled presidential debates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The university was set to host the inaugural face-off between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Bidenim???? on September 29. The first debate will now be hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday.

    im????The commission has selected Cleveland Clinic as its health adviser for all three presidential debates and the one scheduled vice presidential debate.

    im????Reverend John I Jenkins, president of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, said in a statement that the health precautions necessary to stage the debate "would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus".

    im????Student attendance would be restricted and volunteer opportunities minimised, Jenkins said.

    Prominent Republicans promise to back Biden in election

    im????Trump is facing a difficult election season as the one-two punch of the coronavirus and nationwide protests over police brutality have weighed on his approval ratings. 

    Debate cancellations could bode well for Biden, known for his public gaffes.

    Trump, who is pitching himself as the "law and order" candidate, is sending unrequested federal agents to Portland, where they are allegedly brutalising largely peaceful protesters. The move is being seen as an abuse of executive power.  

    Biden has taken aim at Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis, which Trump largely downplayed in its initial months.

    "For all his bluster about his expertise handling the economy, he's unable to explain how he'll actually help working families hit the hardest," Biden said last week while unveiling a plan for improved child and eldercare. "You know, he's quit on you. He's quit on this country."

    The University of Michigan was scheduled to host the second presidential debate but withdrew last month. That debate will now be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

    im????A third presidential debate will be held in Nashville on October 22. A debate between Vice President Mike Pence and the yet-unnamed Democratic vice presidential nominee will be held in Salt Lake City on October 7. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies