The possibility that the next debate might not happen is looking very real after the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced a sudden and major change to the debates which President Trump is not on board with.
The CPD announced early Thursday that “the second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations.” Steve Scully of C-SPAN is still set to moderate the second presidential debate from Miami.
President Trump, however, refused to participate in the virtual debate, which would benefit only Joe Biden, who is suspected of having teleprompters for all on-camera appearances, and refused to allow his ears to be checked for listening devices prior to the last debate – leading many to believe that the Democratic nominee was in fact being fed answers all along.
The presidents decision not to participate in the rigged debate was revealed during a phone interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
“The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us,” Trump said on “Mornings with Maria.” “I beat him in the first debate, I beat him easily.”
The president added that he expected to “beat him in the second debate also.”
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump went on. “I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate.”
The president said he wasn’t going to “sit at a computer” to debate, calling it “ridiculous.”
“They’re trying to protect Biden,” Trump said. “Everybody is.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien then called out the CPD for rushing to Biden’s “defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate,” calling it “pathetic.”
“That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done,” Stepien continued, “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. The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head.”
He concluded: “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
The unprecedented debate format changes came exactly a week before the debate was scheduled to occur.
Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, after his medical team said his condition had improved significantly.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh then said the president planned to take part in the debates. “The president intends to debate,” Murtaugh said Monday.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said that the president has been “fever-free” for four days and has not had any symptoms of the novel coronavirus for “over 24 hours.”
“The President this morning says ‘I feel great!’,” Conley wrote in a memo to McEnany. “His physical exam and vital signs, including oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, all remain stable and in normal range.”
Conley added that the president has “now been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization.”
“Of note today, the President’s labs demonstrated detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies from labs drawn Monday, October 5th; initial IgG levels drawn late Thursday night were undetectable,” Conley continued, adding that the president’s medical team will “continue to closely monitor” and will provide updates as necessary.
The Biden campaign on the other hand, has been attempting to paint the picture publicly that they wanted to debate – but their actions tell a very different tale.
“We are looking forward to the debate on Oct. 15 in Miami,” senior Biden campaign advisor Symone Sanders said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “It’s a town hall and, as you know, Vice President Biden loves a good town hall.”
Sanders added: “And we are hoping President Trump can participate. We’re hoping that he’s medically able to participate, and that is up to his doctors to clear him. But Joe Biden will be at that debate.”
But the Biden campaign quickly jumped at the chance to accept the controversial rule change, agreeing to it almost immediately on Thursday after it was announced.