President Trump refuses virtual debate

President+Trump+refuses+virtual+debate

NBC News

Emily Sturtevant, Staff Reporter

President Trump refused to participate in virtual debate following a COVID-19 diagnosis on October 2 and returned to in-person rallies instead.

The debate was scheduled to take place in Miami, Florida on October 15, but the president decided he would not participate after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it would be held remotely.

The commission’s decision came as a safety precaution after President Trump’s hospitalization due to COVID-19 at the beginning of the month.

“I’m not going to waste my time,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate – it’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want.”

“It was yet another incident that exposed his lack of professionalism. One of his greatest campaign talents is playing to a large crowd and stirring them up in an attempt to get a physical reaction, which he can’t do virtually. It was a weak move that came off as retreating in defeat,” said Ashley Antunes, a Senior Editor for The Greyhound News.

Many Republicans are accusing the commission of favoring Biden over Trump. “It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president.” Trump 2020 Communications Director, Tim Murtaugh said in a statement, 

The president held a rally in Miami, Florida on October 12, after getting the OK from his physician, while former Vice President Biden held a rally in Toledo, Ohio. 

For right now, both candidates are still scheduled to participate in the final presidential debate on Thursday, October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The commission announced that they will be muting the candidates’ microphones to avoid the interruptions and outbursts we saw throughout the course of the first debate. 

Moderator and NBC News correspondent Kristin Welker announced that the topics of the debate will include: race in America, climate change, American families, national security, and leadership.

As of October 20, the polls show that Vice President Biden has a 9% overall lead over President Trump.