After the debate commission initially announced Thursday that the second debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will take place virtually amid the fallout from the president's diagnosis of COVID-19, Trump announced he would not participate.
In an interview with Fox News, the president said he doesn't like the virtual debate because "they cut you off whenever they want."
"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," Trump said. "I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate."
The president went on to say that he wasn't going to "sit at a computer" to participate in the debate.
The Trump campaign released a statement calling the Presidential Debate Commission "swamp creatures," adding that a virtual debate is a "sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden," and they'll "do a rally instead."
HERE'S THE FULL STATEMENT:
"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. 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," said Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager.
"Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people," deputy Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.
Biden said they “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive. He told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates cited a need "to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate.” The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, it said.
Biden says he and Trump "shouldn't have a debate" as long as the president remains COVID positive, adding that he was "looking forward to being able to debate him" but said "we're going to have to follow very strict guidelines."