Debate or no debate, that is the question

  • Debate or no debate, that is the question

Debate or no debate, that is the question

President Donald Trump said Thursday morning that he's "not gonna do a virtual debate" shortly after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that next week's town hall-style event will take place remotely to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which the president was diagnosed with just last week.

"As President Trump said, a virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden because he would be relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker", the Trump campaign wrote.

The Trump campaign argued that the debate commission was trying to "hide" Joe Biden from the people.

The debate was due to be hosted by the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts in Miami on October 15 at 9pm ET (2am in the UK).

The two presidential candidates were also scheduled to debate a third and final time on October 22 in Nashville.

The debate commission, which has the unenviable task of finding common ground between the competing campaigns, has come under scrutiny already after the first debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden deteriorated, with the president frequently interrupting his opponent and the moderator unable to take control.

Mr Biden moved quickly to ensure he would still appear in front of a television audience next week.

With Mr Trump's latest statement where he refused to take part in a virtual debate, the important event could be up in the air.

The Biden campaign has announced that Biden will attend nonetheless.

"We agreed to three debates back in the summer", Mr Biden said. "If he doesn't, fine".

Pressed by Hannity if he'd tested negative, Trump said, "Well, what we're doing is probably, the test will be tomorrow, and the actual test, because there's no reason to test all the time, but they found very little infection or virus, if any, I don't know that they found any, I didn't go into it greatly with the doctors".

The Democratic candidate said earlier this week he did not think the debate should go on if Mr Trump still had COVID-19.

Trump said Thursday he has been recovering from COVID-19 and has been confined to the White House since returning Monday from the Walter Reed Medical Center.

"The CPD and the media can not hide Joe Biden forever", the Trump campaign wrote. But another debate could also expose Mr Trump to political risks.

Campaigning with Ms Harris in Arizona, Mr Biden called Mr Trump's characterisation of the first black woman on a major party's presidential ticket "despicable" and added that it was "so beneath the office of the presidency".