Donald Trump has said he will not do the second election debate with Joe Biden “virtually” despite an official announcement.
It was announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates that Trump and Biden would be participating in the townhall style event from remote locations.
The audience, who typically ask the candidates questions in the town-meeting format, and moderator Steve Scully will gather in one spot in Florida, Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the commission said in a statement.
The commission said the decision was made “to protect the health and safety of all involved”.
But in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said the new virtual format announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates was not acceptable to him.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” he insisted.
The President said he will hold a rally instead.
Trump tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday, raising concerns that during the first debate on the preceding Tuesday he had infected Biden and moderator Chris Wallace.
Biden has tested negative.
The news came a day after the sole vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, who clashed repeatedly over the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
The first Trump-Biden debate was chaotic, with Trump repeatedly talking over his rival, leading some to call for the moderator to have the option of muting participants’ microphones in future match-ups.
Pence, in his debate on Wednesday, defended Trump’s record on the pandemic and other issues under sharp attack by Harris, who said Trump’s failures had cost American lives.
But the quiet, mostly civil debate was a sharp contrast to the combative encounter between Trump and Biden.
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Donald Trump has controversially said getting the coronavirus was a “blessing from God” and claims to have already been ‘cured’ in a matter of days.
In a rambling five-minute propaganda video posted to Twitter, the US President said he had taken a number of therapeutic medicines during his time at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center which left him “feeling great”.
He was released just three days after being admitted on Friday and said after taking pharmaceutical giant Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 – at his own suggestion – he felt better within 24 hours.
“I went in and I wasn’t feeling so hot and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron.
“It’s called Regeneron. And other things too, but I think this was the key. But they gave me Regeneron. And it was like unbelievable. I felt good immediately.”
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