Joe Biden’s campaign said that the next presidential debate should retain its town hall format and be moved to Oct. 22, after Donald Trump vowed not to participate in a virtual event.
On Thursday, the Commission on Presidential Debates said that the planned Oct. 15 event would be virtual, with each candidate participating via remote as moderator Steve Scully anchors with town hall participants from Miami. The change in format was triggered by concerns over Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and whether he would be fully recovered by then.
On Fox Business, Trump said that he would not participate in a virtual event, which would be the second of three planned debates.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement that although Biden was willing to do a virtual event, they hope the debate commission “will move the Biden-Trump Town Hall to October 22nd, so that the President is not able to evade accountability.”
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“The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly. Every Presidential candidate since 1992 has participated in such an event, and it would be a shame if Donald Trump was the first to refuse,” Bedingfield said.
There already was a debate scheduled for Oct. 22, in a traditional format and with Kristen Welker as moderator.
Donald Trump’s campaign indicated that it would do a debate on Oct. 22, but they want the third event to be rescheduled to Oct. 29, just five days before the election.
“The CPD and the media cannot hide Joe Biden forever. Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates on these dates, October 22 and 29,” said Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who himself tested positive for the coronavirus.
Biden’s campaign said that in lieu of the Oct. 15 event not happening, he would still find an “appropriate place” to take questions from voters in his own town hall.
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