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Belmont still hopeful, prepared for an in-person debate

The second presidential debate is going virtual — but Belmont isn’t changing plans for its debate just yet.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday that the Oct. 15 presidential debate would be held virtually, following President Donald Trump’s recent positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Though questioners and moderator Steve Scully will be present at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts as planned, the candidates will debate remotely.

Though Joe Biden agreed to the new format, Trump refused to participate in any virtual debate.

“I am not going to do a virtual debate,” said Trump on Fox Business. “I am not going to waste my time on a virtual debate.”

Despite this, Belmont’s administration is still hoping for an in-person debate on campus.

John Carney, Belmont’s vice president of marketing and communications, said Belmont had no time to dwell on “what-ifs” in an interview with WPLN.

While the format of the debate might change, Belmont’s inclusion in the goal of civil discourse is valuable regardless, 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.”

University President Dr. Bob Fisher told WPLN that Belmont is prepared for multiple outcomes — and no matter what form the debate takes, the important thing is that the candidates share their ideas.

“We just have to be ready to be versatile, flexible, and to do whatever it is that gets this show done,” said Fisher.

“You just gotta roll with it, baby.”

This article written by Justin Wagner.

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