Updated: October 8, 2020 7:07:42 pm
US President Donald Trump Thursday refused to participate in next’s week’s debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden moments after organisers announced that it will take place virtually because of the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden,” Trump told Fox News as quoted by news agency AP.
The announcement from the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates cited a need to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.
The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations,” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, the commission said.
Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive. Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him?” but said “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”
Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami, saying, “It will be great!”
Trump was still contagious with the virus when he was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday but his doctors have not provided any detailed update on his status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention those with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID19 can be contagious for as many days and should isolate for at least 10 days.
It’s not the first debate in which the candidates are not in the same room. In 1960, the third presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy was broadcast with the two candidates on opposite coasts.
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