The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden has officially been canceled, the Commission on Presidential Debates said late Friday.
Earlier this week the CPD said that the debate would utilize a virtual format instead of a live format, with Trump answering questions from the White House and Biden answering questions from a location of his choice.
The debate was scheduled to be held Oct. 15, and would be a town hall format with undecided voters asking questions of the candidates. C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully was set to be the moderator.
Of course, Trump’s diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization for COVID-19 threw a wrench into the affair, spurring on the call for a virtual format. After the CPD announced the format change, Trump said he would not participate, throwing the debate’s future in doubt.
Biden has since opted to appear in a town hall for ABC News the evening of Oct. 15, the Trump campaign is reportedly seeking a network to host a town hall with the President that day as well.
The final debate of the 2020 election cycle remains on the calendar for Oct. 22, set to be moderated by NBC News anchor Kristen Welker.
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the CPD said in a statement Friday, adding that social distancing, testing protocols and masks will be implemented.
Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh, in a statement following the decision, said that the campaign still wants there to be 3 debates, and suggests holding a final debate on Oct. 29.
“It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president,” Murtaugh said. “There’s nothing that says that President Trump and Joe Biden can’t debate together without the overlords at the commission having a say in the matter. We would be glad to debate one-on-one without the commission’s interference.”
“It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which voters get to ask the questions — but it’s no surprise,” said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement. “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.”