Trump Says He Won’t Participate In A Virtual Debate After Commission Decides Next Debate Will Be Conducted Remotely

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus.

President Donald Trump said he will not participate in the second presidential debate on Oct. 15 between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden if it takes place virtually. The news comes after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning that both candidates would participate remotely due to fears of COVID-19.

The two candidates had planned to face off in person in Miami, but there was ongoing concern surrounding Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

Trump, however, said in a Fox Business interview that a virtual arrangement is “not acceptable to us.”

The president announced he tested positive early last Friday, and the debate would take place less than 14 days after — not meeting the general two-week quarantine recommendation for individuals who test positive for the virus.

Biden said Tuesday he would not debate Trump if he still had coronavirus. Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times since the president became infected.

The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations,” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, the commission said.

The Commission’s decision came less than 12 hours after the vice presidential debate, which featured new safety measures enacted by the Commission, including a plexiglass barrier between the two candidates. However, both had tested negative for COVID-19 ahead of the Tuesday debate.

It is unclear if Trump’s statement will cause the debate’s format to be shifted again, and if the third and final presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 22, will also be impacted.