US President Donald Trump has declared that he would not participate in a debate with Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden under a new format announced on Thursday October 8, 2020.
Trump said the new virtual format announced by the commission in which each candidate would appear at remote locations was not acceptable to him.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” he said soon after the rule changes were announced.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager said in a statement that “President Trump won the first debate despite a terrible and biased moderator in Chris Wallace, and everybody knows it.
“For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done,” Stepien, who also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, said.
“We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead,” he added.
The commission said the debate, scheduled for October 15, would see the audience – who typically ask the candidates questions in a town-hall meeting format – and moderator Steve Scully gathering in one location in Florida, Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
The decision was made “to protect the health and safety of all involved,” the commission added.
US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden heading out on the campaign trail to Arizona, said he would follow the commission’s recommendations.
“I don’t know what the president is going to do. He changes his mind every second,” Biden said.
“For me to comment on that now would be irresponsible. I think that if I can follow the commission’s recommendations — if he goes off and has a rally, I’ll — I don’t know what I’ll do,” he added.