Second Presidential Debate Officially Canceled After Trump Backs Out

Sunday, 11 Oct, 2020

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Friday cancelled the second presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden, due to disagreement over the virtual format.

The election is on November 3.

Hundreds of guests have been invited to the White House on Saturday, although Trump will not be mingling among the guests, as he is expected to deliver a speech from the White House balcony.

Questions remain about whether Trump, who announced on october 2 he had the virus and spent three nights in a military hospital, is still contagious.

"I've made the most incredible thing for the Black community, the African American community with jobs and everything else", said Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump's team maintains that there's "no medical reason" to continue with a virtual debate despite all evidence to the contrary. "The White House Pool will provide coverage of the second presidential debate".

Biden's campaign manager Kate Bedingfield later hinted that the former VP was open to rescheduling the town hall for October 22, so that Trump "is not able to evade accountability". Attendees would have to wear a mask and get screened for the virus beforehand. People at the Florida rally will be given a temperature check, masks that they will be encouraged to wear and access to hand sanitizer, the campaign said. He has attacked the CPD for a mic issue he had during the first presidential debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The reported cancelation of the debate caps off an angry feud between the two campaigns and the commission as they argued over when to have the debate and how to have it conducted safely.

A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released earlier this week showed Biden with a five-point edge over Trump in Pennsylvania.

This is in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, which has also led to an economic downturn and a number of pandemic-related restrictions for businesses and schools across the country.

The initial decision by the commission to shift the debate online seemed to have blindsided the participants, with Trump saying that the CPD failed to reach out to his campaign before the announcement.

Both candidates have agreed to participate in the next debate, moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News, on October 22.