President Donald Trump will participate in a town hall event on NBC Thursday night on what should have been the evening of the second presidential debate, the network announced Wednesday, with the nation’s top health officials reportedly clearing the president to make the public appearance amid his recovery from Covid-19.
The town hall event with Florida voters will take place Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami and will be hosted by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
The event will take place outdoors and social distancing guidelines will be followed, with Guthrie and Trump positioned at least 12 feet apart.
The audience will also be distanced from Trump and Guthrie, and will all be wearing masks and required to complete a health questionnaire and temperature check.
According to NBC, Dr. Clifford Lane, Clinical Director at the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement that after reviewing Trump’s medical data with Dr. Anthony Fauci, including a PCR test for Covid-19 collected Tuesday, they have “concluded ‘with a high degree of confidence’ that the president is ‘not shedding infectious virus.’”
Thursday night’s events have been in flux in the wake of Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis, as the Commission for Presidential Debates initially announced that the debate originally scheduled for that night would change to a virtual format. The Trump campaign strongly opposed the move and the debate was ultimately cancelled, even as the Trump campaign still called for the event to move forward live and in-person as originally planned. Trump’s opponent Joe Biden will participate in a separate town hall event Thursday night on ABC in lieu of the debate, and the next presidential debate will take place Oct. 22. Trump’s participation in the NBC town hall comes as the president has quickly returned to the campaign trail despite contracting Covid-19, as Trump has already hosted in-person events like a large outdoor rally in Sanford, Florida, Monday night. The president has said that he’s feeling “really great” after recovering from Covid-19 and his doctor said Monday that the president had tested negative for Covid-19 for two days straight. Medical experts called that result into question, as it was based on Abbott’s BinexNOW test, which under FDA guidance should not have been used more than seven days after Trump developed symptoms, and not the more sensitive PCR test referenced in Lane’s statement to NBC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals should self-isolate for 10 days after developing Covid-19 symptoms, and Trump is now past that window.