After the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the next debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden would be virtual, President Trump stated that he would not participate.
Trump stated that the virtual debate scheduled for October 15 would be a waste of time, while Biden’s team stated that they would have accepted a virtual format. In response to statements from Biden’s campaign, Trump’s campaign manager stated that they would be willing to push the debate back a week. In addition, the third debate would then be pushed to October 29.
These comments from the Trump campaign have caused many to question the nature of presidential debates. Biden’s team even commented on the president’s behavior, stating that President Trump is unable to dictate when the debates are to take place. This responsibility is left to the Debate Commission.
A virtual debate is not unprecedented, however, as a debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy occurred in 1960 with the candidates in different locations. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter did not participate in his first presidential debate, which marks the refusal to participate in these competitions as a familiar event as well.
Trump’s campaign manager has stated that the President will be holding a rally instead of attending the virtual debate.