The US Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that the second scheduled face-off between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been cancelled for good, with no replacement date.
“It’s now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CDP will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the commission said on Friday.
UPDATE 6:36pm ET: @debates issues a statement saying: “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.” pic.twitter.com/7PNJCoKE2W
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) October 9, 2020
The event was called off after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate, which the CPD proposed amid concerns that he still might be contagious after his Covid-19 diagnosis last week.
There’s no medical reason to stop the Oct. 15 debate from proceeding as scheduled, since the President will be healthy and ready to debate. It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden & preventing voters from hearing from the 2 candidates for president.Full: pic.twitter.com/eOkxIphU5E
— Tim Murtaugh – Download the Trump 2020 app today! (@TimMurtaugh) October 9, 2020
Responding to the announcement, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh suggested that the candidates should sideline the CPD “overlords” and instead debate “one-on-one,” without what he called “the interference” of the commission.
It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president.
Trump insisted that he and Biden should spar in person, with his campaign suggesting that the debate might be shifted to a later date. On Thursday, the Trump campaign argued that the debate can take place on October 22 (the date earlier reserved for the third presidential bout), and the third one can be moved to October 29.
Biden’s campaign manager Kate Bedingfield later hinted that the former VP was open to rescheduling the town hall for October 22, so that Trump “is not able to evade accountability”.
The initial decision by the commission to shift the debate online seemed to have blindsided the participants, with Trump saying that the CPD failed to reach out his campaign before the announcement.
Murtaugh argued at the time that the move favored Biden. “This was a decision they made without consultation with our campaign but it’s in line with their history of doing everything they can to protect Joe Biden,” he said.
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The Trump campaign argued that since the president was given a clean bill of health by his physician to resume public engagements on Saturday, there was “no medical reason” to move the debate online.
Shortly before the commission’s verdict, Trump announced that he would address “peaceful protesters” in support of law enforcement from the White House balcony on Saturday and hold a “big” rally in Florida on Monday, his first after receiving treatment for the coronavirus.
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