Trump's event, held in Miami, aired on NBC with host Savannah Guthrie from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET. ABC aired Biden's event, hosted by George Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET. Both segments were town hall-style, meaning the candidates took questions directly from voters.
Trump backed out of the second presidential debate scheduled for Thursday after organizers announced that it was going to be conducted virtually because of his recent Covid-19 diagnosis. The final presidential debate is scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 22.
Read the latest updates below:
Fact check: Trump's claims on voter fraud, ballots 'dumped in dumpsters'
In response to a question about accepting the results of the 2020 election, Trump insisted Thursday that voter fraud was rampant.
"When I see thousands of ballots, right, unsolicited ballots being given out by the millions and thousands of them are dumped in dumpsters and when you see ballots with the name — Trump military ballots from our great military and they're dumped in garbage cans," he said.
Moderator Savannah Guthrie pointed out that the president was referring to anecdotal reports, adding, "Your own FBI director said there's no evidence of widespread fraud."
Trump responded: “Oh, really? Then he's not doing a great job. 50,000 in Ohio, the great state of Ohio. 50,000 in another location, I think North Carolina. 500,000 applications in Virginia. No, no. There's a tremendous problem.”
This is not true. Numerous studies have debunked the notion that there is substantial, widespread voter fraud in American elections, whether those elections are conducted predominantly by mail or otherwise.
Trump is citing election infrastructure errors — like 50,000 flawed absentee ballots sent out in one county in Ohio and later reprinted by officials, or a half million absentee ballot application that were mailed by a nonpartisan group encouraging mail voting that included inaccurate return mailing addresses — as proof of fraud, instead of what they are, which is errors and inefficiencies.
There have been reports of misdirected ballots found in dumpsters — like 100 blank ballots found in Kentucky — but that does not automatically indicate fraud. There are numerous safeguards in place, such as signature matching, to ensure that only eligible voters can cast a ballot.
There's no reason to believe either of these errors will result in fraudulent ballots being counted. Only verified and registered voters can cast a mail ballot.
Biden given, and taking, plenty of time to answer questions
As voters ask Biden a question on a variety of topics, Biden has been able to answer the questions at great length with very little interference from the moderator.
Stephanopoulos has interjected and pressed Biden further, but the floor largely belongs to Biden as he interacts with voters.
It could be good prep to hone his answers for the next presidential debate a week from today.
Trump declines to name whom he owes money to
Trump was asked about the recent The New York Times report about his tax documents, which alleged that he's deeply in debt. Asked whom he owes money to, Trump declines to say whom or what he owes.
Trump claims that it is a small amount of money (he reportedly is on the hook for loans worth around $421 million), and also says that the number is wrong.
Asked if he'll release his taxes, Trump dodges again.
Trump claims stalled stimulus talks are a 'negotiation' tactic
When pressed as to why he has been unable to shepherd a new round of coronavirus relief, Trump said, "You ever hear a word called negotiation?"
Talks over another coronavirus bill have been a bit of a mess in Washington, often with the president derailing progress and changing his mind at the last minute, catching lawmakers off guard and sending everyone back to square one.
Trump attempted to place much of the blame on Nancy Pelosi, saying that "the problem you have is Nancy Pelosi. She couldn't care less about the worker."
Guthrie then pointed out that Republicans lawmakers have also clashed with Trump on the size of the relief bill.
Fact check: Trump says Obama administration 'spied' on his campaign. False.
President Trump, during Thursday's NBC News town hall, once again accused the Obama administration of spying on his campaign — a claim that Trump has made on numerous occasions and remains false.
"They talk about the peaceful transfer," Trump said, about questions posed to him about whether he would accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses in November.
"They spied on my campaign and they got caught," he said, a reference to his claim about the Obama administration.
A review conducted by the Justice Department’s own watchdog deemed in December that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — a probe that deeply touched the 2016 Trump campaign — was justified.
The 434-page report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz raised questions about the FBI's use of confidential human sources to gather information from individual members of the Trump campaign. FBI officials said it was a normal investigative technique, but the inspector general questioned whether there should be special guidelines when it comes to political campaigns.
The report did, however, clearly refute the notion that the FBI placed a "spy" in the Trump campaign.
"We found no evidence," the report said, that the FBI sent any confidential sources to join the Trump campaign, or sent them to campaign offices or events, or tasked them to report on the Trump campaign.
The inspector general said he examined more than a million documents and interviewed more than 100 witnesses to reach the report’s conclusions.
A tale of two town halls
Biden press secretary slams Trump's health care answer
Biden answers question on energizing young, Black voters
Biden was pressed by a young Black voter, one of the crucial voting blocs in this election, about how to energize that base, which is more likely to not vote for either candidate.
Biden has large support among Black voters, but is lagging in younger Black voters. He has also been sharply criticized for some of his past comments on race, such as saying “you ain’t Black” in response to a question of what he would say to a Black voter who votes for Trump.
The former vice president did deftly answer the question, however, by talking about making systemic changes to American institutions from criminal justice to homeownership to early childhood learning to closing the racial wealth gap between Black and white Americans.
Biden fact check: The former VP says Trump downplayed the virus. Did he?
Biden said Thursday that he recognized as early as February, writing in an editorial for USA Today, that Covid-19 was a "serious problem," while accusing Trump of having "denied it."
"We later learned that he knew full well how serious it was when he did an interview with...Bob Woodward, and at the time, he said he didn’t tell anybody because he was afraid Americans would panic."
The facts show that Trump downplayed the severity of the pandemic.
Here’s what Trump said in the early days of the pandemic.
— “We have it very much under control in this country,” Trump said Feb. 23.
— “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner,” Trump said Feb. 26
— “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear,” he said February 27.
— “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, we’ve done a great job with it,” Trump said March 7, when asked by a reporter if he was worried about the virus.
And in interviews with journalist Bob Woodward, referenced by Biden, Trump revealed he knew the virus was deadly and admitted playing it down.
"You just breathe the air and that’s how it's passed," Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7, according to The Washington Post. "And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."
In a March 19 interview, Trump acknowledged he'd been playing down the threat from the start.
"I wanted to always play it down," Trump said. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
Lots of praise for Guthrie on social media
Fact check: Trump misleads on coronavirus death projections
Trump on Thursday claimed that original projections for coronavirus deaths in America said the country would lose 2.2 million people to the virus.
“We were expected to lose, if you look at the original charts from original doctors who are respected by everybody, two million [and] two hundred thousand people," Trump said.
This is misleading. Trump is referring to a model published on March 17 by Imperial College London, which did predict that 2.2 million people in America could die from the virus, but only if no mitigation efforts whatsoever were in place.
In late March, White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told NBC's "TODAY" that the projection of 1.6 million to 2.2 million deaths referred to what could happen if America did "nothing" to stop the spread of the virus.
"If we do things together, well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities," Birx said at the time.
As of Thursday evening, there have been 218,744 deaths attributed to the virus in America, according to NBC News data.
Trump still iffy on wearing a mask, despite his own administration's recommendations
Even after being diagnosed with Covid-19, Trump refused to acknowledge the importance of wearing a mask.
A Miami voter asked Trump if his own experience had made him think differently about wearing a mask, to which Trump responded: "No, because I was OK with the masks. I was good with it. But I have heard many different stories about masks."
Trump inaccurately cited different studies which he claimed cast doubt on the impact of mask-wearing. When Guthrie pushed back, noting that if everyone wore a mask the U.S. could see a significant decrease in cases, Trump appeared to give in.
“Savannah, I say wear the masks," he said. "I am fine with it."
The first half of the town hall focused almost entirely on the virus.
Biden fact check: Have 1 in 5 minority businesses closed because of Covid-19?
Biden on Thursday said at the ABC town hall, "You had in one in five, one in six, minority businesses closing, many of them permanently" because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This appears to be true — and Biden may be understating the closures.
According to a study conducted by Stanford University, more than 1 million black-owned businesses in the U.S. were open in February 2020. But by April, 440,000 black business owners had closed, a drop of more than 40 percent.
Fact check: Trump touts 'amazing' response to Covid-19. The U.S. leads in cases, deaths.
“What we’ve done has been amazing, we’ve done an amazing job,” Trump said on Thursday, claiming that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” with the pandemic.
This is false. The U.S. is facing an uncontrolled outbreak and there are few signs of a turnaround. The U.S. has more cases than any country, with more than 8 million, and more deaths than any country, recently surpassing 218,000.
Cases are high and rising in 28 states; cases are low and rising in 19 states, according to New York Times data.
Trump dodges QAnon question: 'I know nothing about QAnon'
Trump is asked to denounce QAnon. He does not.
Instead, Trump says he doesn't know about QAnon except that they're against pedophilia, which he says he agrees with. It's at least the second time that Trump has had a chance to put QAnon to rest and avoided it.
"I know nothing about QAnon," he told Guthrie.
Guthrie pushes Trump hard on whether he knows about QAnon, and Trump pivots to ask her why she's not asking about antifa.
Biden questioned on if he would take a vaccine approved under Trump
An undecided voter in this election, who voted for President Trump in 2016, asked Joe Biden about his running mate’s comments on taking a vaccine approved under the president.
Sen. Kamala Harris said during the vice presidential debate last week that if Trump announces a Covid-19 vaccine she wouldn’t take.
Biden walked a tight line answering the question because Harris was criticized for undermining public health by making the remark. Biden continued to say he would trust doctors and public health experts, but noted that the president has made outrageous comments related to the virus and has also sowed seeds of doubt about treating it.
Biden fact check: Did Trump say people could inject bleach to fight Covid?
Biden on Thursday said at the ABC town hall, "President Trump says things like, everything from ‘that's crazy stuff,’ then he walks away and says inject bleach in your arm and that's gonna work."
That comment is inference to Trump's suggestions that people should inject bleach in their arm to effectively fight off Covid-19.
Trump did indeed speculate that an injection of disinfectants like bleach could have a curative effect.
"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump said during a news conference at the White House in April, after a briefing from a Homeland Security official who described the ability of disinfectants like bleach to kill the coronavirus on surfaces.
"Because, you see, it gets on the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So that you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."
Trump clashes with Guthrie after question about white supremacy
Trump came under fire in the last debate after he failed to denounce white supremacists and the Proud Boys.
“I denounced white supremacy for years,” Trump claimed, complaining that Guthrie and other people in the media keep bringing up the topic.
But Trump repeatedly dodged attempts to get him to condemn these groups that have expressed support for him, despite being given multiple opportunities to do so.
Fact check: Trump wrongly characterizes CDC study on mask wearing
Trump wrongly characterized a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study when he claimed that "they came out with a statement that 85 percent of people who wear masks catch" the coronavirus.
That is an inaccurate read of a Sept. 10 CDC report — the study found that people who contracted Covid-19 are more likely to have eaten in a restaurant. The lead researcher says the research is actually “mask neutral” and that the data was based on self-reports and not designed to argue for or against mask wearing.
The CDC tweeted on Wednesday that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”
All the available evidence suggests that masks help slow the transmission of the coronavirus. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs showed that Covid-19 transmission slowed after states implemented mask requirements. Scientists believe this is because masks reduce the amount of respiratory droplets spread by the wearer.
While some masks appear ineffective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (like very thin masks or masks with valves), the concept of masks is not up for debate. Trump has been criticized for not aggressively promoting the use of masks, and for refusing to appear in public wearing one until months into the pandemic.
Trump ignores question about herd immunity, attacks Whitmer
When asked whether he supported herd immunity, Trump responded: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
Trump then launched into attacks against Democratic governors who implemented stay-at-home orders and closed businesses, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was recently the victim of a foiled kidnap plot. She has blamed Trump for being "complicit" in the vitriol against her.
'Nothing': Biden's account tweets on what Trump's doing to combat virus
Audio issues at NBC News town hall
Trump’s audio is echoing through his microphone.
The outdoor stage setup carries sound differently than an indoor stage.
Trump begins town hall with questions about his Covid diagnosis
Savannah Guthrie kicked off Trump's event by asking about his Covid-19 diagnosis and treatment. She also asked whether or not he got tested before the first presidential debate.
Trump said he was unsure whether or not he got tested for the coronavirus the day of the presidential debate, as was required by the debate commission. “Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t,” Trump said, adding that he gets “tested all the time.”
Trump said that he “didn’t feel good” or “strong” when he had the virus but he again refused to say whether or not he had pneumonia. His doctors have not answered questions about whether or not his lung scans showed signs of pneumonia.
“They said the lungs are perhaps a little bit different, a little bit infected,” Trump responded.
Biden town hall kicks off with first focus on Covid-19
The ABC town hall with Biden has kicked-off in Pennsylvania. The second presidential debate was supposed to take place tonight, but since President Trump contracted Covid-19, the debate commission moved to a virtual debate, in which Trump refused to participate.
The first question was on Covid-19, with a voter asking how a Biden he would handle the pandemic compared to Trump, who has been criticized for his administration’s response.
Biden excoriated Trump for how he has communicated to the American people and a national, coordinated public health response and a nationwide standard to slow the spread.
George Stephanopoulos, who recovered from Covid-19 earlier this year, is moderating the town hall.
Biden leading in polls in Pennsylvania heading into tonight’s town hall
Biden’s town hall, hosted by ABC, is taking place in Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state and the birthplace of the former vice president.
Biden is at 51 percent while President Trump is at 44 percent among likely voters, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. Trump is participating in a competing town hall airing on NBC tonight in Florida, another vital state to win the election.
Both candidates have campaigned heavily in the state.
Trump town hall will take place in one of the most competitive states
Trump takes the stage in Florida tonight trailing slightly behind Biden in recent state polls, but Florida is proving to be one of the most competitive battleground states.
Most polling averages show Biden roughly 4 percentage points ahead of Trump in the state, which is within the margin of error of some polls.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday showed Biden with 49 percent of likely voters compared to Trump’s 47 percent. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.
With 29 Electoral College votes, Florida is one of the most critical swing states. Trump carried it by roughly 1 percentage point in 2016.
Biden, Trump arrive at town hall events
Biden and Trump have arrived at their respective event sites. Biden pulled up to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia at 7:32 p.m. ET. Trump's motorcade arrived at the Pérez Art Museum around 7:45 p.m. ET.
In Florida, Biden courted seniors and hit Trump on Covid-19
Biden on Tuesday delivered a scathing review of how Trump’s presidency has hurt senior citizens, telling a group of older voters that his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic — which has been especially deadly to the elderly — suggests he feels they’re “expendable” and “forgettable.”
Biden, speaking to a socially distanced crowd at a senior citizen community center in southern Florida, also hit Trump over his statements on possibly cutting Social Security and his record on lowering prescription drug costs, but saved his breath almost entirely for criticism of how the president’s response to the virus has hurt older people in particular.
“While you're losing precious time with your loved ones, he's been stuck in a sand trap at one of his golf courses, and when he does decide to lift a finger it isn't to help you,” Biden said.
“While he throws superspreader parties at the White House, while Republicans hug each other, without concern of the consequences, how many of you have been unable to hug your grandkids the last seven months?" Biden said.
Biden tests negative for Covid-19
After announcing that a crew member on his flights to Ohio and Florida tested positive, Biden underwent another coronavirus test Thursday.
"Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected," the campaign said in a statement.
This marks Biden’s fourth negative test since seeing Harris on Oct. 8 and second since traveling to Ohio earlier this week.
C-SPAN suspends host Steve Scully after he admits lying about Twitter hack
C-SPAN announced Thursday that it had it suspended host Steve Scully after he admitted having falsely claimed that his Twitter account was hacked last week.
Scully appeared to seek advice on Twitter last Thursday from a prominent critic of Trump and then denied it.
Scully, who had been scheduled to moderate this week's presidential debate before it was canceled, admitted that he had lied about sending a tweet to former White House adviser Anthony Scaramucci, "for which I am totally responsible."
Scully said he had been relentlessly targeted in conservative news outlets and social media and by Trump himself. And then, at that point, he turned to Scaramucci for advice, Scully now admits.
"Out of frustration I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci," Scully said in a statement. "The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a new controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked."
Twitter suffers through extended outage
What would a big night in politics look like without Twitter? We might get to find out.
The microblogging platform suffered an extended outage late Thursday afternoon. Some functionality returned at around 7 p.m. ET, but at least some users were still unable to send tweets. DownDetector.org, a website that tracks outages, found that the outage started around 5 p.m.
It's not uncommon for Twitter to have service issues from time to time. In early October, the site experienced partial outages that lasted for around seven hours.
Twitter said in a tweet later that the outage was the result of "some trouble with our internal systems" and likely not a hack.
Biden and Harris react to Trump falsehoods in new video
In a new campaign video posted to Biden’s Twitter account, the former vice president and Sen. Kamala Harris sit several feet apart with masks on as they watch videos of Trump speaking at campaign rallies, interviews and in a campaign ad.
The two-and-a-half-minute video shows the Democratic ticket reacting to falsehoods from the president against their health care and economic record and plans. In response to Trump falsely saying at a rally that Biden’s health care plan "would destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions," Harris calls the president "heartless."
Biden says it’s "painful just watching him" as they hear Trump accuse him of wanting "to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country" if elected.
Trump campaign's efforts for an October surprise are falling short
Kamala Harris cancels travel after top aide tests positive for Covid-19
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has canceled travel through Sunday after two people involved in the campaign tested positive for Covid-19, Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, said in a statement Thursday.
Dillon said the campaign learned of the positive tests, of a nonstaff flight crew member and Harris' communications director Liz Allen, late Wednesday. Dillon said Harris was not in close contact with those two, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, within two days ahead of their positive tests. Both Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff tested negative.
Dillion said there is no requirement for Harris to quarantine but that "out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th."
Here are the coronavirus-related safety measures in place tonight
Both town hall venues will have extra coronavirus-related safety measures in place on Thursday.
The Trump event will take place outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in accordance with guidelines set forth by health officials and consistent with all government regulations. Moderator Savannah Guthrie and the president will be at least 12 feet apart from each other and the audience
The audience will also be socially distanced and required to wear masks, answer a symptoms questionnaire and take a temperature check before entering the outdoor venue.
The Biden town hall at the National Constitution Center, which is being moderated by George Stephanopoulos, will be held in accordance with state and local government health and safety regulations, and guidelines set by health officials, according to ABC.
Will Trump win again? Watch this Florida's county for first election night clue
Last week, Democrats took delight in the spectacle of a 500-golf cart flotilla of Joe Biden supporters parading through Florida's largest retirement community en route to turn in their vote-by-mail ballots.
It was a rare sight: The Villages is one of the most staunchly Republican enclaves in the Sunshine State.
But The Villages isn't just worth watching for its warring buggies and flags. From a data standpoint, it could be the best early indicator on Election Night of a "gray revolt" against President Donald Trump — and who's on track to win Florida.
Trump's campaign assigns so much importance on the 122,000-resident community dubbed "Florida's friendliest hometown" that Vice President Mike Pence visited last Saturday and Trump is scheduled to hold a rally in nearby Ocala on Friday. Biden was in Broward County on Tuesday making a pitch to seniors.
2020 sea wars: DNC floating billboard vs. Trump boat parade
In politics, there's the ground game, where campaigns try to out-organize each other door-to-door and the airwar, where they spend millions pummeling each other in TV ads. But what about the sea war?
Hours before Trump's town hall in Miami, a pro-Trump boat parade passed within mere fathoms of a floating billboard commissioned by the Democratic National Committee to display the message "Trump Lied, 215,000+ Died" in the politically turbulent waters of Biscayne Bay.
Democrats, in an unusual act of political trawling, hired the naval billboard for a four-hour tour that saw it ply the waters around downtown Miami and up the Miami river while displaying its message in three local languages, English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
"215,000 Americans have lost their lives, including more than 15,000 in Florida, and countless families have been unable to see their loved ones. But Trump — who lied to the American people about the threat of the virus — has tried to pretend the pandemic doesn’t exist, refused to make a plan, and continues to jeopardize the safety of the American people," said DNC War Room spokesperson Lily Adams.
Trump's town hall will take place in the same waterfront location as Biden's last week, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, but the Coast Guard plans to blockade all water traffic in the area when the president arrives so a real naval battle doesn't break out.
Pence and Trump to meet before town hall
Vice President Mike Pence told the audience at the Faith in America Event in Doral, Florida, that he’s seeing Trump ahead of his town hall tonight.
"Apparently this is the day to be in Miami," Pence said. "I arrived earlier today for a rally, the President is arriving momentarily, and we'll be meeting up at Doral before he has a televised town hall this evening."
Trump posts photo of large crowd at North Carolina rally
Biden continues to hold double-digit national lead over Trump
Less than three weeks before Election Day, Joe Biden maintains a double-digit national lead over President Trump, with 6 in 10 voters saying that the country is on the wrong track and that it is worse off than it was four years ago.
What's more, a majority of voters say they have major concerns that Trump will divide the country rather than unite it — the largest concern for either presidential candidate.
Those are the results of a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — conducted after Trump returned to the White House from his hospitalization for the coronavirus — which finds Biden ahead of Trump by 11 points among registered voters, 53 percent to 42 percent.