Debate Officially Canceled After Trump Refuses To Do It Virtually

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.”

The event had been slated for Thursday, Oct. 15.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he will return to the campaign trail as he has recovered from the coronavirus, but next week's debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden has been canceled after he refused to take part in the proposed virtual format.

Trump, however, was quick to say that he would not participate if the debate in Miami was not held in person.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, called Trump's stubbornness on the matter "shameful" and noted that the October 15 debate was the only one where voters would be able to directly ask the candidates questions in a town hall format. His campaign's suggested postponing the town hall until Oct 22., the original date of the final debate, and pushing the final debate to October 29, just five days before the election.

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This will be the first time Trump has traveled since an October 1 fundraiser, after which he tested positive for the coronavirus. Biden's campaign condemned the president's refusal as "shameful" but unsurprising in a statement Friday.

"I'm getting numbers, you know, we're at 20 percent, 22 precent, which, not that I'm proud of that because it should be 100 percent", Trump said, who then referenced the First Step Act he signed into law and was supported by Van Jones.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The decision came following President Trump's recent positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the Commission citing a need "to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate".

President Donald Trump plans his first steps toward resuming in-person election campaigning on Saturday when he delivers remarks to supporters at the White House, aiming to show he has beaten the coronavirus and is back in the fray.

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Boarded windows and largely empty streets made New Iberia in south-central Louisiana look like a ghost town Thursday evening. As the fourth hurricane or tropical storm to hit Louisiana in a year, Delta also tied a 2002 record, Klotzbach said.

Biden's campaign agreed to participate in the final October 22 debate, which is scheduled to take place in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Trump campaign also announced he would hold a rally Monday in Sanford, Florida. He is expected to make remarks around a "law and order" theme from a White House balcony to a crowd of hundreds on the lawn below.

Earlier, White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah had said the White House would give an update when Trump tests negative for the virus and is cleared by his medical team.

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Facebook, a platform repeatedly found to spread hate and misinformation, declared itself an "American success story". In a statement, Google said that it disagreed with the conclusions of the report.

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