President Donald Trump announced that he would not participate in the second presidential debate with challenger Joe Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates changed the debate format to virtual, citing Trump’s recent positive coronavirus test.
“I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, that is ridiculous,” Trump said during a Fox Business interview on Thursday morning.
“This was a decision they made without consultation with our campaign but it’s in line with their history of doing everything they can to protect Joe Biden,” Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh said.
Biden seeks debate postponement
After Trump said he would pull out of the debate, Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield suggested postponing the second debate until October 22, the planned date for the third debate. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also suggested holding the second debate in person on October 22 and the third on October 29, just days before the election.
Trump has been under treatment for the coronavirus since Friday October 2nd, and he has made a remarkably fast recovery so far. He has not had a fever since Friday and is now reported to have no symptoms.
While the usual quarantine period for asymptomatic people with coronavirus is 14 days, CDC guidelines say that 10 days from the positive test are sufficient if the person is fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.
Of course, if Trump takes a turn for the worse or is still testing positive on the day of the debate, he would postpone or cancel it, but that is not expected to happen.
Instead, the commission has prematurely decided to nix the in-person aspect of the debate altogether, even though in all likelihood, Trump will be completely fine and testing negative by that point.
“I don’t think I am contagious”
Trump told Maria Bartiromo he felt “perfect” and couldn’t wait to get back to having in-person rallies, only 7 days after the onset of symptoms.
“I don’t think I am contagious at all,” Trump said, the Hill reported, but the campaign has not announced that any rallies would resume before the 10-day recommended quarantine period finishes on Monday.
The campaign did say that a rally would be held in place of the debate on October 15, which is 14 days after the initial symptoms of the virus began.