US President Donald Trump has refused to take part in the next virtual TV debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
”No I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox Business Thursday. “That’s not what debating’s about.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced earlier that the Oct. 15 forum in Miami, the second of three presidential debates, will be a town hall with the participants appearing from remote locations.
The first presidential debate on 30 September had descended into insults and interruptions. The vice-presidential debate, held on Wednesday night between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, was a far more measured affair.
The US election will be held on 3 November. Latest opinion polls suggest Mr Biden has a high single digit lead nationally, but the outcome is often decided in battleground states where the races can be much closer.
A statement from Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who had also previously tested positive for Covid, said the decision of the commission to “rush to Joe Biden’s defence” was “pathetic” and Mr Trump would have posted “multiple negative tests” before the debate.
Behind the debate commission’s move?
The second 90-minute debate was due to be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, with local residents in the audience posing questions to the candidates.
But the Commission on Presidential Debates said on Thursday the candidates would have to take part “from separate remote locations”. Participants and the moderator would be in Miami.