Trump refuses to take part in digital debate on Oct. 15: ‘I’m not going to waste my time’

WASHINGTON – The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, slated to happen on Oct. 15, will likely be held just about, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates mentioned Thursday. 

Minutes after the announcement, nevertheless, Trump mentioned he wouldn’t take part.

“No I’m not going to waste my time on a digital debate,” he mentioned throughout an interview on the Fox Business channel. His marketing campaign later mentioned Trump will maintain a rally that night time as an alternative.

Trump and his allies shortly claimed, with out proof, that the fee made the change to favor Biden. A Biden marketing campaign supply informed NBC News that the talk fee made the choice unilaterally.

The debate fee’s choice got here six days after Trump introduced early final Friday that he and first woman Melania Trump had examined optimistic for coronavirus. 

Since Trump’s prognosis, greater than a dozen White House officers have examined optimistic for Covid-19.

Biden mentioned earlier this week that he thought the talk should not go on if the president have been nonetheless contaminated with the coronavirus.

“I do not suppose I’m contagious,” Trump informed host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning. Public well being officers say that Covid-19 sufferers have to be remoted from others for no less than 10 days after contracting the virus, and as much as 20 days relying on the severity of the an infection. 

Trump’s marketing campaign has additionally been privately discussing probably holding a marketing campaign occasion subsequent week in Pittsburgh, in keeping with individuals acquainted with the matter. The occasion might find yourself being across the identical time that the talk was slated to happen.

Citing a must “defend the well being and security of all concerned,” the talk fee mentioned in an announcement, “The second presidential debate will take the type of a city assembly, by which the candidates would take part from separate distant places.”

The debate’s location in Miami, Florida and the moderator, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully will stay unchanged, they mentioned.

Since Trump’s prognosis, greater than a dozen White House officers have examined optimistic for Covid-19.

The president was later transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the place he spent the subsequent three days receiving an aggressive therapy of therapies below the care of a workforce of docs. 

Trump was discharged from the hospital Monday into the care of White House physicians who say he’s steadily bettering.

It is unclear precisely when Trump was first contaminated with the virus or when he final examined destructive for it earlier than his optimistic exams final Thursday. Both of those elements make it tough to evaluate when the president will not be contagious to others. 

A day after he left Walter Reed hospital, Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was “trying ahead to the talk,” regardless of nonetheless being handled for Covid-19. Trump’s marketing campaign mentioned the president needed to take part within the debate “in particular person.” 

Earlier this week, Biden mentioned if Trump stays infectious then the talk must be known as off, however added that he would comply with medical professionals’ recommendation.

Following information of the talk change, Trump’s marketing campaign supervisor Bill Stepien, who was lately recognized with Covid-19 himself, insisted the talk can nonetheless be held safely in particular person.

The first debate between the 2 candidates final Tuesday in Cleveland shortly devolved right into a fiasco after Trump refused to cease speaking when his allotted time was completed, and continued to interrupt and insult Biden for the rest of the talk. 

Biden additionally grew pissed off in the course of the 90 minute debate, at one level calling the president “a clown.” 

Following the catastrophe in Cleveland, the fee mentioned it was exploring methods to offer the talk moderators extra methods to implement the previously-agreed upon guidelines if and when candidates refused to obey them.

A digital debate might clear up two issues without delay for the talk fee: Protect the town-hall attendees, employees, moderators and candidates from coronavirus an infection and supply the moderator with the choice of reducing the video and audio feeds of candidates who ignore the principles.

CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this text.

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