Second presidential debate is virtual, but Trump declines to participate

The committee responsible for steering the three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the next debate will virtually take place on October 15. That does not go down well with President Trump. He “doesn’t want to waste his time on it,” and would instead hold a campaign rally.

“The two candidates will participate from two separate locations and remotely,” the committee said. The moderator and the chosen Americans to ask a question would do so from a studio in Miami, in the crucial state of Florida. After all, the set-up of this debate was a so-called “Town Hall”. In addition, people from the public may direct their question – albeit pre-screened – to the candidates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates made the decision to ensure the safety of the candidates in corona times. Not unimportant, given that Trump spent last weekend at the Walter Reed Medical Center after testing positive.

Trump was able to leave that hospital on Monday and immediately went back to work. Aside from the discussion of whether Trump is feeling better purely on heavy medications, there is the issue of the US president in all likelihood still being contagious.

But Trump doesn’t care about that, it turns out. “No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” he said immediately after the announcement in a telephone interview with news channel Fox Business. “You have to face the confrontation directly, it doesn’t go through a computer,” he continued. The US president also posited that “they are trying to protect Biden.”

Trump’s preference for a decidedly confrontational debate style became painfully clear during the first debate. Trump went full on the attack, constantly interrupted his challenger and did not let anyone, including the moderator, restrain himself.

Joe Biden’s campaign team, on the other hand, announced in a press release that they would like to participate in the debate. “He is looking forward to addressing the American people directly,” he said.


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