Notre Dame withdraws as presidential debate host amid coronavirus outbreak

Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and President Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and President Trump are scheduled to meet at the first presidential debate Sept. 29.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

The University of Notre Dame has become the second university to withdraw as the host of one of this fall’s three scheduled presidential debates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The university was set to host the inaugural face-off between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Sept. 29. The first debate will now be hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday.

The commission has selected Cleveland Clinic as its health advisor for all three presidential debates and the one scheduled vice presidential debate.

In a release, Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, said the university made “this difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”

The University of Michigan was scheduled to host the second presidential debate but withdrew last month. That debate will now be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.