The second presidential debate scheduled for October 15 has been cancelled after Donald Trump refused to take part in a virtual event.
It comes after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced this week that Trump and Biden would be participating in the debate from remote locations due to concerns about coronavirus transmission.
But after the current US president told Fox News he would not “waste his time” on a virtual event, the organising body decided to cancel it, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal .
The news was later confirmed by the Commission who said both campaigns had announced “alternate plans for that date.”
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the commission said in a statemetn.
When the event was initially moved online, the Trump campaign called for the two remaining debates to be moved back but the Biden campaign objected to changing the dates.
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The commission said the decision to move the event online was made “to protect the health and safety of all involved”.
But in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said the new virtual format announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates was not acceptable to him.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” he insisted.
The president said his campaign was planning on him to hold a rally instead.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also announced he would hold an alternative town hall on the night that the debate was supposed to take place, according to TVLine .
His campaign announced in a statement: “Joe Biden was prepared to accept the [Commission on Presidential Debates’] 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 from the voters about his failures on COVID and the economy.
“As a result, Joe Biden will find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly on October 15, as he has done on several occasions in recent weeks.”
The statement continues: “Given the president’s refusal to participate on October 15, we hope the Debate Commission will move the Biden-Trump Town Hall to October 22, so that the president is not able to evade accountability. The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly. 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.”
The first presidential debate took place on September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.
This week, on October 7, Vice-President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took part in the only vice presidential debate scheduled ahead of the election.
The US presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, but in some states people have already voted by post or are doing so in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump will host his first in person event since testing positive for the coronavirus on Saturday evening, despite still possibly having the disease and being infectious.
The US President will discuss “law and order” at the White House. He will address the crowd on the South Lawn from a balcony, even though growing evidence that there is a coronavirus outbreak in the White House.
So far 33 people in addition to Trump have caught the disease while working in the famous building.
The President has repeatedly avoided giving a straight answer when asked when he last tested negative for the bug, leading to suspicions that he is still infected.
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