US Election 2020: What to expect from the final presidential debate

The final presidential debate is on Friday.
The final presidential debate is on Friday. Photo credit: Getty

Donald Trump and Joe Biden are set to face off in the third US Presidential debate on Friday.

The Republican and Democratic nominees are in the final stretch of their campaigns to win over American voters with the election less than two weeks away.

Here's what you need to know:

  • When? 2pm - 3:30pm Friday (NZ time) 
  • Where? Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Who's moderating? NBC's White House correspondent and co-anchor of Weekend Today Kristen Welker
  • How will it work? The debate will consist of six 15 minute segments each focusing on a topic. There will be no ad breaks
  • What are the topics? Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.

Friday's debate was set to be the third between Trump and Biden, and just one vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris.

But after Trump contracted COVID-19 in early October and was hospitalised, the second debate, which was scheduled for October 16, came under scrutiny for safety reasons.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) floated the idea of conducting the second debate online, however, Trump refused to take part. It was subsequently cancelled.

The final face-off will be the first since Trump contracted COVID-19 and it will likely be brought up in conversation as the candidates debate the topic of Fighting COVID-19.

The debate is also set to occur in the midst of the political battle over Trump's supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Barrett's Senate confirmation hearings got underway this week but the Democrats plan to boycott a vote, calling the process "a sham", Reuters reported.

There has been some interest in how Friday's debate will run after the "shitshow" first presidential debate in September.

Donald Trump continuously interrupted and spoke over moderator Chris Wallace who struggled to control the candidates as they traded insults.

"That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck," CNN anchor Jake Tapper said at the time. "That was the worst debate I have ever seen. It wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace."

As a result of the chaos, the Presidential Commission on Debates announced on Tuesday that the third debate will feature a mute button.

During the contender's two-minute-long opening remarks on each topic, the other candidate's microphone will be muted to ensure there are no interruptions.

Both microphones will be turned on to allow a back and forth after that time.

For live updates and coverage of the final US presidential debate, tune into from 12pm on Friday (NZ time). The debate begins at 2pm.