President Trump will not be participating in the next scheduled presidential debate after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the debate would be entirely virtual.
In a press release on Thursday, the commission said: “The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations.”
Speaking with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, the president described the new format as “ridiculous” and said he would not waste his time with it.
“No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want,” Trump said.
As the Washington Examiner reports, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien echoed these remarks in a statement where he called the finalized change “pathetic.”
“For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done,” he said per the report.
“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,” Stepien continued. “The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
The Washington Examiner adds:
During his Fox Business interview, Trump also chastised the moderator, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, saying he always thought Scully was a “nice guy” but heard he is a “Never Trumper.” That would appear to be in reference to reports that have been published in right-leaning media about Scully doing some intern work for Biden when he was a senator decades ago.
— Erin Perrine (@ErinMPerrine) October 8, 2020
“The second presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 and the third is scheduled for Oct. 22. The debate going virtual comes after the first debate was held on Sept. 29 and the president’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis days later,” the Independent Journal Review reports.