President Donald Trump and Democrat White House hopeful Joe Biden were set to square off in a town hall-style debate next week. But after the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) changed the rules, the president made clear that he’s no longer interested.
According to Breitbart, Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo unequivocally on Thursday that he is “not going to do a virtual debate.” The president’s remarks came just hours after the CPD first announced that the Oct. 15 debate would be held over video call, rather than in-person.
The CPD’s decision came a week after Trump tested positive for COVID-19, but the president said he feels better than he has in decades after returning home from the hospital Monday following a weekend stay. Now, he’s ready to take Biden to task yet again — but he won’t be playing the debate commission’s games.
“I am not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” Trump told Bartiromo on Thursday’s episode of Mornings with Maria, according to Breitbart.
“What debating is all about”
Trump also said Thursday that he felt the debate moderator went too easy on Biden in their last face-off on Sept. 29. That match-up was moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace.
“I beat [Biden] easily in the first debate, according to polls that I have seen… I think he felt it, too,” Trump told Bartiromo, according to Breitbart. “He wouldn’t answer any questions. He had the protection of Chris Wallace all night long.”
The president also predicted that he would have beaten Biden in a second debate, too, but said he won’t do it if it can’t be live and in-person.
“That is not what debating is all about,” Trump said of a virtual arrangement, as Breitbart reported. “You sit behind a are computer and do a debate. That’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”
Trump’s re-election campaign later confirmed that the president won’t be participating next week, as Breitbart reported separately.
“President Trump won the first debate despite a terrible and biased moderator in Chris Wallace, and everybody knows it,” the campaign said in a statement, according to Breitbart. “For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done.”
The campaign also said Trump “will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration.”
“The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head,” the statement added, according to Breitbart. “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”