Debates in Limbo: Commission Changes Format to Virtual, Trump Rejects Remote Debate & Seeks Rescheduling, Biden Wants Only One More
Do you want to see a virtual presidential debate?
by Causes | 10.8.20
UPDATE 10/8/20 (9:45pm) - White House physician expects President Trump can safely return to activities on Saturday.
- Dr. Sean Conley, a U.S. Navy commander who serves as physician to President Donald Trump, released an update Thursday evening stating the president has "responded extremely well to treatment" for COVID-19 and will be able to hold public events as soon as Saturday, October 10th. The statement detailed some of Trump's vitals, and read in part:
"Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time."
- According to the AP, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday night that it will not reconsider shifting the second debate from virtual back to in-person.
- That means the next presidential debate will likely be October 22nd, although it's possible the Trump campaign could change its mind and attend the virtual debate, or the Trump and Biden campaigns find another acceptable date between the 15th and 22nd. It's unclear whether it will be a traditional debate format as originally scheduled or a town hall, as the Biden campaign suggested.
- Whether that debate is the last encounter between the candidates will be the subject of discussions between the Trump campaign and Biden campaign, which has so rejected offers to reschedule a debate on a day that wasn't originally selected for a debate night.
The original article from Causes appears below.
What’s the story?
- A Thursday morning announcement by the Commission on Presidential Debates to change the format of the second presidential debate, originally scheduled for October 15th, making it virtual rather than in-person has sparked a dispute about whether it or the third presidential debate will occur.
- The CPD’s change was taken unilaterally without consulting either campaign and resulted in President Donald Trump refusing to attend a virtual debate out of concern former Vice President Joe Biden would be helped by off-screen aides.
- The Trump campaign suggested that the second debate be delayed by a week until October 22nd, when the third debate is currently scheduled, and that the third debate be pushed back a week to October 29th.
- Biden’s campaign has so far declined the Trump campaign’s request to move both the second and third debates back by a week so the candidates can appear in-person, and announced an October 15th town hall hosted by ABC News anchor and former Clinton communications director George Stephanopoulos.
Timeline of the latest debate over debates
- The CPD announced the reversal, “In order to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate,” which comes as Trump is recuperating from coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, one of several Trump aides who recently tested positive for COVID-19, blasted “the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission” for announcing the change without informing the campaigns, and said that “President Donald Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration.”
- President Trump responded to the announcement in an interview on Fox News and said, “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That is not what debating is all about, you sit behind your computer and do a debate, it's ridiculous.” Members of the Trump campaign expressed concern that Biden could receive assistance from off-screen aides in a virtual town hall, and White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow suggested Trump’s announcement was a negotiating tactic.
- CPD Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf responded, “No Presidential Candidate is required to debate. Jimmy Carter refused to debate during the first debate in 1980. It is up to the individual candidate.”
- In response, the Biden campaign suggested in a statement distributed before noon that the October 15th town hall be delayed until October 22nd when it can be held in person, without mentioning the third debate currently scheduled. The campaign also stated that Biden will withdraw from the October 15th event.
- The Biden campaign then released another statement after 1pm, which said the October 22nd event should be the final debate as it was initially scheduled. It explained that the October 22nd debate is “already tied for the latest debate date in 40 years.”
- The Trump campaign agreed with moving the town hall back to October 22nd when it can be held in person, but added that the third debate should also be rescheduled to October 29th ― which would leave four days between the prospective final debate and Election Day.
- At 3pm, ABC announced that it will host a town hall featuring Biden in Philadelphia on October 15th. ABC’s Biden town hall will be moderated by anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic advisor who has been with the network since he served as the White House communications director in the Clinton administration.
- Given that the infrastructure is already in place for the town hall in Miami, Florida, it’s possible that if the campaigns and the CPD can negotiate a mutually acceptable set of ground rules for the second presidential debate to go ahead either virtually or in-person on October 15th, the ABC town hall would be canceled and the candidates would debate as planned.
- If a deal is reached and the town hall goes ahead in a virtual format, it would be the first time in 60 years that a presidential debate featured candidates who weren’t in the same room. Three of the four presidential debates in 1960 featuring Vice President Richard Nixon (R) and Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-MA) were held in person, but the third featured the candidates remotely, with Nixon in Los Angeles and Kennedy in New York City.
- Every presidential election since 2000 has featured three debates between the two major candidates.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Screen grab from The Independent)
IT: Poll workers urgently needed near you, and... 🌿 Do you support ballot measures legalizing marijuana?Welcome to Wednesday, October 21st, tenors and sopranos... America is facing a record shortage of poll workers this year due to
by Causes | 10.21.20
Senate Dems Block PPP Small Business Funds & Pre-Existing Protections Bill as GOP Rejects Schumer Adjournment MotionWhat’s the story? The Senate remains at an impasse over coronavirus relief measures, as votes held Tuesday on another infusion
by Causes | 10.20.20
IT: California GOP installs unofficial drop boxes, and... 📱 Time to reform social media liability protections?Welcome to Tuesday, October 20th, shampoos and conditioners...Are you placing your ballot in an official drop box?California’s
by Causes | 10.20.20