President Trump Refuses to Participate in Virtual Presidential Debate

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Donald Trump has announced he will not participate in the second presidential debate with presidential candidate Joe Biden after the commission on Presidential Debates started the oven till it needed to be healed virtually in the wake of President Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis. On Fox Business, Donald Trump stated, “I am not going to do a virtual debate. I am not going to waste my time on a virtual debate.”

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Trump’s comments threw heavy questions about the second debate after the commission told the court to wholly remake the contest between both candidates. The move was seen as needed by members of the debate commission after the uncertainty around the President’s overall health.

Remote Location

The commission noted, “The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations. The town meeting participants and the moderator, Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks, will be located at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida. The White House Pool will provide coverage of the second presidential debate.”

The announcement from the commission came a few hours after the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night with Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris debated in person, albeit separated by plexiglass. Biden’s campaign recommended that next week’s debate should be indeed pushed back after Trump refused to appear virtually. Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s deputy campaign manager and communication director Kate Bedingfield released a statement, reading, “Joe Biden was prepared to accept the C.P.D.’s proposal for a virtual Town Hall, but the president has refused, as Donald Trump clearly does not want to face questions from the voters about his failures on COVID and the economy.”

October 15th

Bedingfield also noted that Biden could find an appropriate place in order to take questions from republican and democrat voters on October 15th, the day the town hall debate was scheduled to be held in Miami. Just days after being released from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week where he was treated for COVID-19 after testing positive after the first debate, Trump rejected the commission’s call or a remote debate, calling it “ridiculous.” Bill Stepien, Trump’s Republican Campaign manager did agree with the new dates, stating, “We agree that this should happen on Oct. 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to Oct. 29.”

Still, the commission believes this new virtual format instead of an in-person debate would presumably make it easier for the moderator to cut off the candidates who are going over their time limit or interrupt each other, which would impede any effort by the president to change the subject away from the coronavirus.

Original presidential debates schedule:

  • Oct. 15: Second presidential debate at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.
  • Oct. 22: Third presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Watch: 2020 Presidential Debates: What You Need to Know

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