Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

Trump vows not to participate in 2nd debate with Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday not to participate in next week’s debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden after organizers announced it will take place virtually because of the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate” with Biden, Trump told Fox News, moments after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes due to Trump’s diagnosis.

That cast serious doubts on whether the event will go forward, even as Biden’s campaign vowed that its candidate will participate.

“Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people,” deputy Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

It is more evidence that the race remains defined by the virus, even as Trump has attempted to underplay it.

The announcement from the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates cited a need “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.” The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, it said.

The announcement came a week before Biden and Trump were scheduled to face off in Miami.

Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and but in a Tuesday tweet said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami, “It will be great!” he tweeted.

Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive.

Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”

Trump fell ill with the virus last Thursday, just 48 hours after debating Biden in person for the first time in Cleveland. While the two candidates remained a dozen feet apart during the debate, Trump’s infection sparked health concerns for Biden and sent him to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests before returning to the campaign trail.

Trump was still contagious with the virus when he was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday but his doctors have not provided any detailed update on his status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can be contagious for as many as — and should isolate for at least — 10 days.

It’s not the first debate in which the candidates are not in the same room. In 1960, the third presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy was broadcast with the two candidates on opposite coasts.

Related: 2020 Vice Presidential debate 

14 PHOTOS2020 vice presidential debate See Gallery2020 vice presidential debate (COMBO) This combination of pictures created on October 07, 2020 shows US Vice President Mike Pence and US Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California Kamala Harris during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photos by Eric BARADAT and Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT,ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in the vice presidential debate moderated by Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today Susan Page (C) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)US Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California, Kamala Harris gestures as she speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in the vice presidential debate moderated by Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today Susan Page (C) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)US Vice President Mike Pence Mike Pence gestures as he speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in the vice presidential debate moderated by Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today Susan Page (C) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Moderator and Washington bureau chief for USA Today Susan Page speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Morry Gash / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MORRY GASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in the vice presidential debate moderated by Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today Susan Page (C) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)US Vice President Mike Pence Mike Pence gestures as he speaks from behind a plexiglass barrier during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on October 07, 2020 shows US Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California Kamala Harrisduring the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photos by Justin Sullivan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07:U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participates in the vice presidential debate against Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)US Vice President Mike Pence (L), US Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California, Kamala Harris (R), moderator Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today Susan Page (C), participate in the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall of the University of Utah October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) participates in the vice presidential debate against U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Up Next

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