The final presidential debate will happen on Thursday night. It is both dangerous and ridiculous that this event will be held in person. We are in a pandemic, and we have very capable streaming technologies. People do not need to share the same geographical location to debate one another. It feels futile to keep saying this, really. But apparently we’re going to have the would-be presidents debate each other in person, and with an audience to boot, so I will say the next obvious thing: It should be held without the members of the Trump family attending.
The reason for this is simple: They cannot be trusted to take COVID precautions. At the last debate, members of the Trump camp who attended watched the whole thing maskless. Everyone was supposed to be tested prior to the debate (tests are fickle, but getting a negative result from everyone would have reduced the odds of COVID spreading in the room). But it turned out that the Trump entourage showed up to the debate location in Cleveland too late to get swabbed. The debate commission clarified that it did not test all attendees but instead relied on the honor system. (I’ve emailed the debate commission to ask if it is going to be enforcing tests and masks this time, but have not received a reply.) When, in lieu of a second debate, Trump sat down at a town hall preceded by a grilling by Savannah Guthrie, he refused to confirm that he had tested negative prior to taking the stage with Biden. “Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t,” the president said.