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Next presidential debate will be virtual, but Trump says no

UPDATE: President Trump has suggested he will refuse to take part in the debate if it’s held remotely, telling Fox Business on Thursday morning: “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” adding, “You sit behind a computer and do a debate, it’s ridiculous.”

Next week’s second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and the Democratic hopeful, former Vice President Joe Biden, will take place virtually due to coronavirus concerns, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) confirmed on Thursday, October 8.

It means Trump and Biden will debate from separate locations, with moderator Steve Scully broadcasting from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida, the original location for the highly anticipated event.

Specific details on the setup are yet to be revealed, but it would be the first-ever presidential debate to be held in this way.

In a statement explaining its decision, the commission didn’t refer to the coronavirus pandemic directly, nor to the fact that Trump recently contracted the disease, saying only that it had made the move “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved” in the debate, which is scheduled for Thursday, October 15.

It added: “The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations. The town meeting participants and the moderator, Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks, will be located at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida. The White House Pool will provide coverage of the second presidential debate.”

Donald Trump recently tested positive for the virus and spent several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before returning to the White House on Monday.

The idea that the debate could take place virtually was first raised last week by a campaign adviser to Trump.

Commenting on the arrangements for the second debate, Biden told reporters on Thursday, “I’m showing up, I’ll be there. And, in fact, if he shows up fine. If he doesn’t, fine.”

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