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Second presidential debate cancelled

The second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was cancelled on Friday night US time after the president vowed he wouldn’t take part in a virtual event.The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organises the showdowns, scrapped the event planned for next Thursday, as the president battles coronavirus.The nonpartisan debate commission confirmed on Friday that…

The second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was cancelled on Friday night US time after the president vowed he wouldn’t take part in a virtual event.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organises the showdowns, scrapped the event planned for next Thursday, as the president battles coronavirus.

The nonpartisan debate commission confirmed on Friday that it wouldn’t reverse its decision on the virtual October 15 showdown between Biden and Trump.

Citing several health concerns, the group said it wouldn’t have the candidates on stage together to answer questions from voters.

President Trump had on Thursday ruled out taking part in a virtual debate – touted as a workaround while he recovered from coronavirus – declaring it “unacceptable” and a “waste of time”.

The Biden campaign had initially agreed to a virtual event but will now participate in a town hall hosted by ABC News after Trump pulled out.

“Vice President Biden looks forward to making his case to the American people about how to overcome this pandemic, restore American leadership and our alliances in the world, and bring the American people together,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN on Friday in a statement.

“It‘s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions — but it’s no surprise.”

Trump’s team later countered by asking to host the debates in person as scheduled after the president’s doctor said he’d be cleared to hold public events starting on Saturday.

“There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it, or otherwise alter it in any way,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement to the network.

Trump is reportedly in talks to do a town hall with NBC on Thursday in lieu of the debate, but things haven‘t been finalised yet, a person familiar with the plans told CNN.

The Democratic ticket has also ruled out rescheduling the October 15 debate to a later date, with a Biden spokeswoman saying: “Donald Trump doesn’t make the debate schedule; the debate commission does.”

The third – and final – debate is planned to take place in Nashville, Tennessee on October 22.

Trump is planning to take part in rallies and other public events beginning Saturday after White House doctor Sean Conley said yesterday it was “safe” for the president to do so.

“Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects,” Dr Conley wrote in a health update on Thursday.

He added: “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagement at that time.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.