The second presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump has been canceled, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday.
The decision comes one day after Mr. Trump boycotted the second debate following the Commission announcing the format would be virtual due to coronavirus concerns. Mr. Biden’s campaign moved swiftly to announce the Democratic nominee would be appearing at a town hall in Pennsylvania airing on ABC. Several reports have indicated Mr. Trump is seeking to do a town hall of his own on the same night.
“The CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the commission said in a statement.
The second presidential debate format was set to be a town hall format, with both candidates taking questions from voters in Miami. The move is questionable to say the least as several polls show Mr. Trump trailing Mr. Biden with just 25 days to go until Election Day.
The final debate is scheduled for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee with NBC’s Kristen Welker as the moderator with a standup traditional debate format.
“Subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols, the debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee,” the commission said in a statement.
The Trump campaign responded to the news of the cancellation by attacking the Debate Commission, accusing them of favoring Mr. Biden. The went to on claim that Mr. Trump would be “fully healthy” by the October 15 date and wanted to debate. However, the White House refuses to say when the President’s last negative test was.
“There is also no reason there shouldn’t be the three total presidential debates as Joe Biden had originally agreed. We have suggested using October 22 and October 29 to hold the final two debates,” Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president.”
The Biden campaign released a statement and called it “shameful” that Trump “ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask questions.”
“Vice President Biden looks forward to making his case to the American people about how to overcome this pandemic, restore American leadership and our alliances in the world, and bring the American people together,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said. “It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions — but it’s no surprise. Everyone knows that Donald Trump likes to bully reporters, but obviously he doesn’t have the guts to answer for his record to voters at the same time as Vice President Biden.”