U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, on Thursday (October 22) left for Nashville, Tennessee where the president will face his Democratic rival Joe Biden at their second and final debate ahead of the November 3 election.
Trump needs to score some hits in the televised encounter to steady a campaign that is struggling, in part due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 222,000 people in the United States and is surging again worldwide.
Trump, a Republican, trails former vice president Biden significantly in national polls less than two weeks before Election Day, though the contest is much tighter in some battleground states where the election will likely be decided. Opinion polls show there are relatively few voters who have yet to make up their minds.
Meanwhile, final preparations were being made on Wednesday (October 21) on the stage where U.S. President Trump and Democratic nominee Biden will face off for the last time before election.
Technical crews were putting on the finishing touches at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and rows of empty chairs were already set up for an audience that will be required to wear face masks.
Trump and Biden will have their microphones muted for parts of their final debate on Thursday to allow each presidential candidate a block of uninterrupted time to speak, according to the group sponsoring the debate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, the sponsor of the televised debate in Nashville, said changes were necessary after the combative first debate between the candidates on Sept. 29. Debate organizers will give each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted time at the beginning of each segment of the debate, which will be 15 minutes each.
A record 42 million Americans have already cast ballots ahead of the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, meaning Trump’s window to influence the outcome of the race may be closing.