The second presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden which was scheduled to take place on October 15 in Miami, has been officially cancelled, it was announced.
In a statement on Friday night, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said: “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.”
It added that the third presidential debate scheduled for October 22 is still slated to take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, but subject to health security considerations and in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines, The Hill news website reported.
The announcement came as the Trump’s campaign has argued that the debate scheduled for next week should continue in person as originally planned.
Responding to the announcement, Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to The Hill: “There is no medical reason to stop the October 15 debate in Miami from proceeding as scheduled, since the President will be healthy and ready to debate.
“There is also no reason there shouldn’t be the three total presidential debates as Joe Biden had originally agreed.
“It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for President.”
The spokesman added that the President’s campaign would be open to debating Biden “without the Commission’s interference”.
A day before the cancellation, the CPD had announced that the second presidential debate would be held virtually following Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis.
It planned for the two candidates to debate remotely as the moderator and voters would attend from Miami, as originally planned.
But shortly after the announcement, Trump told Fox News: “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That is not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, it’s ridiculous.”
As the debate stands cancelled, Biden will now a town hall hosted by ABC News on October 15 slated to take place Philadelphia, which will be moderated by the network’s chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Details of the town hall, including the time, will be released in coming days.
A similar event was hosted by ABC News also in Philadelphia last month for Trump, who took uncommitted voters’ questions about the Covid-19 pandemic, racial justice and healthcare.