BREAKING: Next Presidential debate will be virtual, according to commission
This comes after Democratic nominee Joe Biden expressed concern about debating the President in person because of the recent COVID-19 announcement.
WASHINGTON, DC (KLKN) – The face-off between Presidential candidates scheduled in Miami next week just got a little more heated, and it has nothing to do with the weather in Florida.
The nonpartisan Commission on President Debates said first thing Thursday the debate will be virtual. This was “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.”
This means each candidate will be in remote locations while the moderator and other debate audience will still be in Miami.
The full statement from the Commission on Presidential Debates can be found here: “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.”
President Trump was swift to call it “unacceptable”.
President Trump just told Fox Business: “I’m not going to do a virtual debate … No, I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate.” He also says he was never told about the decision. –@JustinFishelABC https://t.co/BjmT3s2zcD
— Gio Benitez (@GioBenitez) October 8, 2020
President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 a week ago, two days after the last Presidential debate. After a weekend stay at the hospital, he says he’s feeling much better.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was adamant that Trump shouldn’t debate in Miami if he was still COVID positive. It’s not clear at this time if the President has had a negative COVID test since his diagnosis.
The Biden campaign said Thursday morning that the former vice president will 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 said in a statement to ABC News Thursday.
Instead of attending the debate, the Trump campaign said it will hold a rally.
“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 campaign said in a statement.
ABC News says Trump was not made aware of the changes before they were announced.
The chairman of the Commission for Presidential Debates said that no president is required to debate, as a response to Trump’s refusal to go virtual. He pointed out that Jimmy Carter refused to debate during the 1980 first debate.
This story is developing and we’ll update this as new information becomes available.