Second Presidential Debate to Be Held Virtually; Trump Says He Won’t Participate

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday that the second debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be conducted remotely.

“The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” the commission said in a statement.

The commission said that the town meeting participants and the moderator, Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor for C-SPAN Networks, will convene at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida.

Trump and Biden faced off last week in a fiery first debate, and the second debate is currently scheduled for October 15.

The decision comes after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Shortly after the announcement, Trump told Fox Business he would not participate in a virtual debate with Biden.

“The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us,” Trump said Thursday morning. “I’m not going to do a virtual debate. I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate.”

“I beat him in the first debate. I beat him easily,” Trump said, adding that he expects to “beat him in the second debate also” but refuses to “sit at a computer” to debate Biden, an arrangement he called “ridiculous.”

“They’re trying to protect Biden,” Trump said. “Everybody is.”

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who also tested positive for the coronavirus last week, slammed the commission’s decision, saying “that’s not what debates are about or how they’re done.”

“Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration. The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head,” Stepien said.

On Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence debated Senator Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, in the only vice presidential debate of election season.

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