2nd Prez Debate May Be Shifted to 22 Oct as Trump Won’t Go Virtual

Trump also suggested that a third debate takes place, but on 29 October, which Biden’s advisors rejected.

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“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump said on Thursday morning, adding that he would not waste his time on it.
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The next presidential debate is likely to be deferred to 22 October, reported AP, although the matter is surrounded by uncertainty at this point.

Following Trump’s refusal to participate in the second presidential debate virtually, days after having tested positive for COVID-19, Biden’s campaign suggested that the debate be deferred for a week until 22 October. Incidentally, 22 October is the date when the third and final debate of the two sparring candidates was already slated to be held.

According to AP, Trump agreed to debate directly on 22 October, as long as it was only face-to-face. Trump also suggested that a third debate takes place, but on 29 October.

Biden’s advisors, however, rejected the prospect of participating in a debate that late in the campaign.

What the White House Doctor Said

According to AP, Trump’s doctors Navy Commander Sean Conley said, in a letter, on Thursday, that Trump had “completed his course of therapy” and could, resume campaigning from the weekend.

Trump, thereby, requested the Commission on Presidential Debates to hold the next debate in person, on 15 October, as according to the original schedule.

Trump’s manager Bill Stephen, reportedly, said:

“There is, therefore, no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it, or otherwise alter it in any way.” 

The Commission Chair, Frank Fahrenkoph, according to AP, however, said that the decision to hold the debate virtually was guidelines by medical advisers at the Clevland Clinic, and therefore, was not going to be reversed.

'I’m Not Going to Do a Virtual Debate': Trump

Soon after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Thursday, 8 October, that the second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will take place virtually in the aftermath of Trump having tested positive for COVID-19, he said in an interview with Fox Business that he would not participate.

"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," Trump said on Thursday morning, adding that he would not waste his time on it.

A statement from the Trump campaign also stated that President Trump would not be participating in the virtual debate, saying, “The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

The Trump campaign added that the president “will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate” and that there was no need for this “unilateral declaration”.

The Biden campaign, however, said on Thursday morning that the Democratic nominee would participate in the virtual event.

"Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump's failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression," the campaign told ABC News.

On Thursday, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said a week before the scheduled meet in Miami that the candidates will “participate from separate remote locations”. However, it said that the moderator would remain in Miami, AP reported.

(With inputs from Associated Press and ABC News)

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