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Trump surrogate, Joe Biden to join Asian American and Pacific Islander presidential town hall

NBC Asian America will stream the event Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

The presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden and former Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo, a Trump campaign surrogate, will participate in a digital presidential town hall Saturday focusing on Asian American and Pacific Islander issues.

The forum, hosted by APIAVote, will focus on policy issues and questions from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. NBC Asian America will stream the town hall at 3 p.m. ET on its social media accounts. The forum video will also be embedded at the top of this article.

This forum takes place at a particularly unique time for the community, with economic and social upheavals caused by the coronavirus and increased calls for racial justice together with the Black community.

Christine Chen, the executive director of APIAVote, said that events in 2020 have created a new moment for the AAPI community. “People are really beginning to understand how these actually impact their families or friends, their neighborhoods, because they've never been put into these situations.”

“I'm really excited that this town hall is happening at this particular moment in time because the community is actually making the connections,” she said. “We have more engagement and interest in this town hall than we ever have.”

Vicky Nguyen, an NBC News investigative and consumer correspondent, and Amna Nawaz, senior national correspondent at PBS Newshour, will serve as moderators for the town hall. Members of the AAPI community will also get a chance to ask questions in the form of recorded videos.

The forum will be available to stream on and PBS Newshour’s website. It can also be viewed on NBC News’ various social media channels and video on demand on NBC News Now.

In response to questions about what the Trump campaign is hoping to discuss at the forum, a campaign spokesperson said in a statement that the AAPI community has “consistently supported candidates who advocate for a safe and strong America, opportunity for a better tomorrow, more money in our pockets, the freedom to pick the best schools for our children, and lower taxes.”

“President Trump has delivered on all of that and more in just three years while Joe Biden’s dismal five decadelong record of failure speaks for itself,” the spokesperson said.

A Biden campaign spokesperson said in a statement that the former vice president was looking forward to taking part in the town hall, and also took the opportunity to criticize Trump for recent racist comments about the coronavirus.

“While President Trump continues to make flippant and casually racist comments about the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, Joe Biden as a Senator and Vice President has turned bold, progressive ideas into tangible results for the AAPI community,” the spokesperson said. "As President, he'll continue his lifelong commitment to ensure that every member of the AAPI community is treated with dignity and that no one gets left behind."

A previous voter survey from APIAVote and AAPIData showed that the Democratic Party enjoyed net favorable ratings over the Republican Party. The Democratic party was rated as 58 percent favorable with 28 percent unfavorable, while the Republican party was viewed 52 percent unfavorably and 34 percent favorably. President Donald Trump also was rated as 58 percent unfavorable and 32 percent favorable.

The same report also found that AAPI voters prioritized jobs/economy and health care as their top issues. Democrats were viewed as having a party advantage on issues of health care, while Republicans were viewed as having the advantage on the issue of jobs and the economy.

In 2016, Libertarian pParty candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein both attended the presidential town hall. Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent former President Bill Clinton as a surrogate, and the Trump campaign was represented by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.

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