President Trump Says No to Virtual Debate

President Trump stated he will not “waste my time” participating in a virtual presidential debate, which was changed by the Commission of Presidential Debates from an in-person format due to the president’s COVID-19 infection and concern for “the health and safety of all involved.”

The debate is still scheduled to take place as a town hall style virtual meeting. Both candidates were invited to attend remotely. Trump said, in an interview on Thursday morning, the revised format is “not acceptable to us,” expressing his fear of the moderator, C-Span’s Steve Scully, cutting off his microphone “at any time.”

Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, accused the commission of showing favoritism toward Joe Biden, saying it was “pathetic” for the commission to move “unilaterally” to change the debate to a remote format, referring to them as “swamp creatures.”

Kate Bedingfield, deputy manager for the Biden campaign, expressed her criticism of Trump choosing not to participate in the scheduled debate under the safe format, saying Trump is avoiding facing anticipated questions from voters on his failure to properly handle both the pandemic and the economy. Bedingfield suggested the commission move the town hall style debate to the next week “so that the president is not able to evade accountability.”