The second presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 15 has been canceled, organizers of the event announced Friday.
This comes after President Donald Trump and his campaign made multiple statements about the second debate that put Trump’s attendance in question.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced Thursday that the second debate would be done virtually. In response, President Trump announced he would not attend. His campaign said he would be at a rally instead, and his campaign manager said the date of the debate should be pushed back.
“No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about,” President Trump told Fox Business. “The commission changed the debate style, and that’s not acceptable to us.”
“They’re trying to protect Biden,” he continued.
The CPD announced the change to a virtual platform on Oct. 8 “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved.” The president tested positive for COVID-19 six days before this statement and was still infected as of Oct. 7.
“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. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in response.
The campaign’s statement added: “President Trump won the first debate despite a terrible and biased moderator in Chris Wallace, and everybody knows it. For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done.”
Shortly after the campaign’s statement was released, Stepien said that the debate should still happen, but be pushed back a week.
“Voters should have the opportunity to directly question Biden’s 47-year failed record of leadership. We agree that this should happen on Oct. 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to Oct. 29,” said Stepien.
On Oct. 9, the CPD announced the cancelation of the debate and said it will turn its attention to preparing for the final debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.