10 Oct 2020: US Elections: Second Presidential debate between Trump, Biden officially canceled
The second Presidential debate between United States President Donald Trump and Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden has officially been canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, after a series of back and forth arguments involving both campaigns.
With the October 15 event junked, the non-partisan body, organizing presidential debates since 1988, will focus on the October 22 ceremony in Nashville.
Looking back: Commission suggested virtual debate, Trump called it "waste of time"
The commission, after seeking a response from health experts, decided on Thursday that the second face-off must be held virtually. Trump's coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization drove this decision, which was welcomed by Biden's team.
But Trump saw it as a "waste of time." His campaign manager Bill Stepien said there are no good medical reasons to avoid an in-person debate.
Suggestion: Postpone debates by a week, suggested Trump
Trump's campaign, however, had a suggestion — postponing both debates by a week. The one on October 15 must be held on October 22, and the final debate, before the November 3 election, on October 29.
Biden's campaign rejected the idea with spokesperson Kate Bedingfield saying, "Donald Trump doesn't make the debate schedule; the Debate Commission does."
She said they accepted dates in June.
Fact: Biden's aide said Trump can choose against attending final debate
"We look forward to participating in the final debate, scheduled for October 22, which already is tied for the latest debate date in 40 years. Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That's his choice," Kate added, as per CNN.
Claim: Biden was looking forward to the debate: Campaign spokesman
Another member of Biden's team, campaign spokesman Andrew Bates, said the former Vice President was looking forward to making a case for American people and speak "about how to overcome this pandemic, restore American leadership and our alliances in the world, and bring the American people together."
He said it's shameful Trump didn't show up for the debate where voters would have asked questions.
Decision: Commission said both candidates have alternate plans for debate day
In a statement about the cancelation, the commission said, "Each (candidate) now has announced alternate plans for that date. It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15."
"The CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final Presidential Debate scheduled for October 22," the note added.
CPD started informing campaign officials from Friday afternoon (local time).
Details: Trump's schedule includes a White House event, Florida rally
Meanwhile, Trump is back on his campaign trail. The President will be giving a speech at the White House on Saturday, a first since his coronavirus diagnosis.
He will also be in Florida on Monday, for a massive rally.
Biden, on the other hand, agreed for a town hall moderated by media group ABC on October 15 and will directly take questions from voters.