Candidates Prepare Alternate Events Amid Cancellation Of Second Presidential Debate

Day-Long Debate Spat Ends Where It Started — Virtual

“The commission’s a joke,” the president said in a telephone interview with Fox News on Thursday night. “I’m not going to do a virtual debate.”

His campaign has insisted that he would be fully convalesced by the time of the October 15 debate. "A biased Debate Commission is unfair", the 97-year-old ex-senator told his followers. "No I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate", Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox Business Thursday.

"In response to Trump contracting the coronavirus last Friday, along with general concerns about others possibly contracting the disease at the event, the commission changed the format of the October 15 presidential debate from an in-person to a virtual debate, which led Trump to pull out altogether". The final debate, set for October 22, will go ahead as planned.

The commission had unilaterally decided to make the October 15 debate a virtual one for health and safety reasons after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

The former US vice president had agreed to a virtual format but later chose to attend a town hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that night instead in the wake of his Republican rival's opposition to the change.

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"CPD announce that for the health and safety of all involved, the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, would be conducted virtually", the nonprofit corporation said in a statement released late Friday.

Biden's campaign condemned the president's refusal as "shameful" but unsurprising in a statement Friday.

This will be the first time Trump has traveled since an October 1 fundraiser, after which he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The president tested positive for coronavirus and his physician said in a statement on Thursday that his treatment had gone successfully and that he was ready to begin public appearances again.

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Interestingly, the second debate was supposed to be a town hall-style event, meaning audience members would be submitting questions to Trump and Biden - a debate-style that one of Biden's aides said would only magnify Trump's bullish behavior next to Biden's more empathetic approach.

The president plans to host an event at the White House Saturday, speaking to a South Lawn audience from the balcony.

"This was a decision they made without consultation with our campaign but it's in line with their history of doing everything they can to protect Joe Biden", he said.

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