WASHINGTON (AFP, BLOOMBERG) – The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said Friday (Oct 9) it has cancelled next week’s showdown between Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden, after the United States President said he would not participate in a virtual format.
The cancellation of the forum is a formality, given that both Biden and Trump have already said they wouldn’t attend and made alternative plans.
“Each (candidate) now has announced alternate plans for that date,” the commission said in a statement. “It is now apparent there will be no debate on Oct 15.”
The final debate will be on Oct 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols, the debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.”
The Oct 15 debate was to be in Miami moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully. The CPD announced Thursday that it would be done remotely, but the Trump campaign rejected that idea, demanding that it be held in-person.
“No I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox Business Thursday. “That’s not what debating’s about.”
Meanwhile, Trump plans to hold his first live event at the White House on Saturday since being diagnosed with Covid-19.
All attendees will be told to wear masks they must bring, and will have to submit to a Covid-19 screening on Saturday morning. This will consist of a temperature check and a brief questionnaire, according to a source familiar with the preparations.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said it was “shameful” that Trump backed out of the only town hall-style debate of the three planned meetings.
“Everyone knows that Donald Trump likes to bully reporters, but obviously he doesn’t have the guts to answer for his record to voters at the same time as Vice-President Biden,” he said.
Both candidates have made other plans for Oct 15. Biden will participate in a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by ABC News and moderated by George Stephanopoulos. Trump is planning to take part in a town hall hosted by NBC News, ABC reported.
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