President Donald Trump’s campaign is proposing delaying the two remaining presidential debates by one week to ensure the debates can take place in-person, rather than virtually, after Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
The Commission on Presidential Debate announced Thursday that next week’s town hall debate in Miami would be held virtually because of Trump had the virus. The president immediately objected to that format, and he said he wouldn’t take part.
Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien says in a statement that the “American people should not be deprived of the chance to see the two candidates for president debate face to face two more times” before the election.
Stepien says the campaign would like to see the town hall postponed by one week, to Oct. 22, and the third debate held on Oct. 29.
Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign had also asked that town hall be moved back a week “so the president is not able to evade accountability.”
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign says because of President Donald Trump’s rejection of a virtual presidential debate on Oct. 15, the Democratic challenger will hold his own town hall event the same night.
Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement late Thursday morning that the Commission on Presidential Debates should reschedule the town hall debate for Oct. 22. That’s the night a third debate was to take place.
The commission earlier Thursday had announced that any Oct. 15 debate would be virtual because of Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Biden said he was willing to abide by the format change, but Trump blasted the decision and argued without evidence that the commission was trying to help Biden.
Bedingfield said in her statement that Trump is trying to “evade accountability” by avoiding facing voters directly.
“The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly,” she said. “Every presidential candidate since 1992 has participated in such an event, and it would be a shame if Donald Trump was the first to refuse.”
President Donald Trump, who has the coronavirus, says he will not participate in next week’s presidential debate if it’s held virtually.
Trump says in a Fox Business interview that that arrangement is “not acceptable to us.”
And he’s accusing moderators of trying to protect his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates had announced moments earlier that the second debate between Trump and Biden will take place virtually because of the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.
The commission cited a need “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate” and said the candidates would “participate from separate remote locations” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami.