Hours after Donald Trump refused to participate in a proposed virtual presidential debate, Joe Biden has also now backed out of the event. On Thursday (Oct. 8), the Commission on Presidential Debates decided on a remote town hall-style for the second debate in regard to Coronavirus concerns, which the Biden campaign has now asked to be postponed to later this month.
“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 on COVID and the economy,” Biden’s campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield wrote in a statement after Trump rejected the idea.
“Given the President’s refusal to participate on October 15th, we hope the Debate Commission will move the Biden-Trump Town Hall to October 22nd, so that the President is not able to evade accountability,” she concluded.
Instead of the second debate, the Biden campaign will reportedly focus on creating “an appropriate place” for the Democratic candidate “to take questions from voters directly.”
Speaking with Maria Bartiromo on “Fox Business News,” Trump said he wasn’t “going to waste [his] time on a virtual debate.”
“That’s not what debating is all about,” he argued. “You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous; and then they cut you off whenever they want.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates decided to host the second debate virtually after Trump and other White House staff members were diagnosed with Coronavirus.
Biden previously said he was “looking forward to being able to debate” against Trump, but stressed the need to “follow very strict guidelines.”
If the Debates Commission grants Biden’s request to postpone the virtual town hall to Oct. 22 — and Trump agrees to participate — this would essentially replace the third debate, which was initially scheduled for that day. It’s unclear whether or not a third debate will still take place at a later date.