NBC staffers are dismayed that the network agreed to hold a town hall event with President Trump on October 15, at the same time that Joe Biden will hold a town hall covered by ABC, independent journalist Yashar Ali reported Wednesday.
“Over a dozen” staffers from NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC, have expressed anger over the decision. The report comes just several hours after NBC announced the town hall, and ABC has indicated that the network will not move its scheduled event with Biden.
I've heard from over a dozen NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC sources (talent and staff) and the frustration with and anger toward their employer for scheduling a town hall against Biden is palpable.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 14, 2020
The Commission for Presidential Debates had initially scheduled a Trump-Biden debate for October 15. However, the president was diagnosed with coronavirus on October 2 and hospitalized for several days with the illness. While Trump is no longer contagious according to Dr. Clifford Lane, clinical director at the National Institutes of Health, the Commission had already called for a “virtual” debate between the candidates because of the president’s recent diagnosis.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate. I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate,” Trump said after the Commission made its decision. It would be “ridiculous” to “sit at a computer” to debate Biden, Trump added.
Biden has said he would refuse to debate Trump in person if the president was still contagious.
“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said last week. “I’m not sure what President Trump is all about now, I don’t know what his status is. I’m looking forward to being able to debate him. But I just hope all the protocols are followed, what’s necessary at the time.”