President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would not waste his time participating in a “virtual” town hall with the teleprompter-dependent Joe Biden, after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the Oct. 15 forum would be conducted virtually.
“I’m not going to waste my time on virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business. “You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want.”
Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that even though the host of the C-SPAN forum was a “never-Trumper,” he was looking forward to sparring again with Biden.
“They’re trying to protect Biden,” the president said. “Like that NBC disaster with Lester Holt. It was meant for a child,” he added disdainfully.
As American Greatness reported on Wednesday, the NBC town hall with Biden on Monday featured known Biden supporters in an audience of purported undecided voters.
Trump said that he’s feeling so much better, he ready to have rallies again.
“I’d love to do a rally tonight. I wanted to do one last night,” he told Bartiromo.
Per the debate commission’s dictat, the C-SPAN town hall would have had the two candidates participate from separate remote locations, while the participants and moderator Steve Scully would have been located as planned at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
The commission announced the change in format after Biden expressed concern over the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis.
Biden initially said that he would be willing to participate in the debate “if scientists say that it’s safe,” while noting that “we should be very cautious” in organizing the event.
Then, the former vice president on Tuesday declared that “we shouldn’t have a debate” if Trump remains infected with the coronavirus.
In a memo on Wednesday, however, Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s personal physician, reported that Trump has “been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien pointed out in a statement Thursday morning that the president “will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration.”
Stepien said Trump will “pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
Full statement below:
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.
The Biden campaign, not surprisingly, embraced the format change, saying in a statement that Biden “looks forward to speaking directly to the American people.”
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, suggested Biden would participate in a “town hall” without the president, fueling suspicions that the event will be rigged with Democrat plants asking canned questions as they have in the past.
She said Biden was prepared to accept a virtual town hall “but the president has refused, as Donald Trump clearly does not want to face questions from the voters about his failures on COVID and the economy.”
Bedingfield suggested Biden would participate in a “town hall” without the president, fueling suspicions that the event will be rigged with Democrat plants asking canned questions as they have in the past.
Biden “will find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly on October 15th, as he has done on several occasions in recent weeks,” she stated, going on to request that the commission delay the scheduled town hall debate one week, to Oct. 22.
“The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly,” Bedingfield said. “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.”