The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has been canceled, the Presidential Debates Committee confirmed on Friday, a decision that came as the president announced his first events in person since the diagnosis of Covid-19.
The decision of the non-partisan committee follows a public disagreement between the two candidates over the format of the debate. The commission had previously announced that the debate would take place “virtually” because of Trump’s diagnosis. Trump, however, has said he will refuse to participate in a virtual event, while Biden has advocated for security reasons.
But the commission said it would not reverse its decision, citing an abundance of caution and health concerns, especially for the town hall-style debate which was to include questions from voters.
“It is now clear that there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will focus on preparations for the last presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the committee said in a statement.
The third and final debate, scheduled for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee, is still ongoing.
The move came shortly after Trump announced his first in-person events since his diagnosis of Covid-19, including a White House speech on Saturday and a campaign rally in Florida on Monday, though it remains potentially contagious for the virus.
The White House event will see Trump discussing “law and order,” and he expects to address a crowd from the White House balcony.
White House doctor Sean Conley said in a press release Thursday that “based on the trajectory of the team’s advanced diagnostics, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements.” Saturday, eight days after Trump announced his positive test early last Friday.
Trump had initially indicated that he hoped to hold a rally on Saturday night. “I think I’ll try to have a rally on Saturday night if we can, if we have enough time to put it in place,” Trump said Thursday. The event did not materialize.
At least one Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been linked by a local health official to an increase in coronavirus cases. Most supporters of Trump’s recent events have avoided masks and social distancing measures.
While Trump has done hours-long talks with conservative hosts, it has only been just over a week since he announced his diagnosis. Medical experts have expressed concern that because the White House has refused to show the results of Trump’s chest x-rays and lung scans, the public does not have a full picture of whether the president fully recovered from the virus.
Trump avoided questioning whether he had ever tested negative for the virus. In the president’s first on-camera interview since his diagnosis, Trump said he felt “very good and very strong,” but once again declined to answer a question about his latest test results.
“I don’t know the numbers or anything, but I’ve been retested and I’m at the bottom of the ladder or free,” Trump said.
The remote interview, which had been advertised as a “medical examination” but did not involve any medical examination or analysis, was conducted by Marc Siegel, a doctor and Fox News contributor who previously downplayed the severity of the coronavirus.
Participants at Monday’s rally in Sanford, Florida will be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of Covid-19, according to the event’s registration page, and to waive their right to sue Trump or the venue. ‘they contract the virus.
A Covid-19 outbreak among senior White House officials and the military has caused a dramatic situation within the Trump administration. At least 20 people in or working around the Executive Mansion have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days.
In an interview on Friday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, said Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the White House Rose Garden Supreme Court in late September was a “super event. propagator “.
“The data speaks for itself. We had a super-spreader event at the White House. It was in a situation where people were crowded together, not wearing masks, ”Fauci said.
At least seven people who attended the event of about 150 people tested positive for the virus, including US Senator Mike Lee; the president of the University of Notre Dame, the Reverend John Jenkins; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.