Welp, it’s official: Donald Trump isn’t willing to participate in a virtual debate.
On Thursday morning, Trump called into Fox Business to speak with Maria Bartiromo about his coronavirus symptoms, quarantine, and his upcoming debate with Joe Biden, which is scheduled for Oct. 15.
After Trump tested positive for COVID-19 last week the status and formatting of future presidential debates was thrown into question. Hours after Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence’s debate on Wednesday, however, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the next presidential debate would be held virtually, which Trump doesn’t approve of.
“I heard that the commission a little while ago changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us,” Trump said on Fox. “I’m not going to do a virtual debate. I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating’s all about — you sit behind a computer and do a debate. That’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”
Trump’s campaign also released an official statement in which they stated that “canceling an in-person debate is pathetic” and rather than partake in a virtual debate they’ll hold an in-person rally.
The Biden campaign, however, says that Joe would be happy to take part in a virtual debate.
Biden campaign says they will participate in a virtual debate.@KBeds: VP “Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus.”
— Dan Merica (@merica) October 8, 2020
Trump’s refusal to partake in a virtual debate comes less than a week after his positive COVID-19 diagnosis was announced. He was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday, where he was treated for three days before returning to the White House on Monday night. Along with Trump, the first lady and several members of Trump’s administration — including senior aide , and White House press secretary — have also tested positive for the virus.
Both Pence and Harris reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 before the debate. However, Pence’s previous close contact with Trump and people like Katie Miller — his communications director and the wife of Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, who tested — inspired the Commission on Presidential Debates to take additional safety precautions during the debate. Everyone in the audience was required to wear face masks for the duration of the event and two plexiglass dividers were placed between Harris and Pence on stage.
Meanwhile, Harris like Biden, consistently wears a mask in public, encourages the American people to do the same, and argues that we must take the virus seriously.