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Politics Second presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump canceled

03:15  10 october  2020
03:15  10 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Opinion: Post-debate commentary from CNN contributors

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The second US presidential debate planned for October 15 was canceled by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday, as the event's format was thrown into disarray following US President Donald Trump 's coronavirus diagnosis. On Thursday, organizers called for a

The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is officially off. The nonpartisan Commission on Trump balked at holding the debate in that format, and Biden scheduled a town hall with ABC News for that night once Trump said he would not participate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday canceled next week's second presidential debate planned for Miami, one day after President Donald Trump refused to take part when it was moved to a virtual format.

The bipartisan commission, under intense criticism from the Trump campaign, announced the decision in a statement late Friday, saying the campaigns of both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden "each now has announced alternate plans" for Oct. 15, the date of the debate.

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The Commission on Presidential Debates called off the second debate between President Donald Trump (pictured) and Democratic nominee Joe Biden after Throughout Thursday, the Trump and Biden campaigns put out statements about the Miami debate , with the president 's campaign urging

The 2020 United States presidential debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump , the major candidates in the 2020 United States presidential election

"It is now apparent there will be no debate on Oct. 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 22," the commission said.

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More: Trump won't do next debate after it goes virtual; Biden schedules solo town hall in its place

The decision means Trump and Biden will square off in a debate only once more – on Oct. 22, in Nashville, Tennessee – before Election Day on Nov. 3. It also means there will not be a presidential town hall debate, with questions coming from voters, for the first time since 1988.

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Donald Trump 's objective was to rattle Joe Biden - and he planned to do it by constantly interrupting the former vice- president . By CBS News's count, Trump cut in on Biden a total of 73 times. That made for a series of chaotic exchanges, which included Trump questioning Biden 's intelligence and Biden

a man standing in front of a crowd: Television screens airing the first presidential debate are seen at Walters Sports Bar in Washinton. © Sarah Silbiger, Getty Images Television screens airing the first presidential debate are seen at Walters Sports Bar in Washinton.

Both campaigns have agreed to the Nashville debate, according to the commission.

The cancelation came after the commission announced Thursday the next debate would be remote to "protect the health and safety of all involved" after Trump's positive COVID-19 diagnosis and a subsequent outbreak among multiple White House officials.

Trump promptly said he wasn't "going to waste my time doing a virtual debate," calling it a "joke" and an effort "to protect Biden" in an interview on Fox News.

More: Read the full transcript of vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris

The Biden campaign blamed Trump for the cancellation.

"It's shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions – but it's no surprise," Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Friday. "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."

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The Trump campaign had suggested delaying the final debates each one week so the second would not have to be held virtually.

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The first US presidential debate quickly devolved from friendly greetings to chaos as Democratic challenger Joe Biden struggled to make his points while being interrupted incessantly by President Donald Trump . While Biden and Wallace grew frustrated, many viewers were amused by the clash.

The commission that oversees US presidential debates says it will change the format to ensure the remaining two encounters between Donald Trump and Joe Biden are more orderly. One new measure could be to cut the microphones if the candidates try to interrupt each other, US media report.

Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh objected to the commission's decision, saying there is "no medical reason" to stop the debate in Miami because the president is "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," he said. "We have suggested using October 22 and October 29 to hold the final two debates. It’s time for the biased commission to stop protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president.”

He proposed organizing a third debate with the Biden campaign that's not affiliated with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“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," Murtaugh said. "We would be glad to debate one-on-one without the commission’s interference.”

Trump's decision to back out set off a furious back and forth between the two campaigns on the debate schedule and formats, culminating with Biden scheduling his own televised town hall for Oct. 15 organized by ABC News. Trump won't be present. His campaign instead said they planned to organize a rally.

A White House memo released Thursday claimed Trump had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19 "as prescribed by his team of physicians." White House physician Dr. Sean Conley cleared Trump to return to public life on Saturday, 10 days since his diagnosis, saying, "I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time."

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Despite being released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center four days ago, Trump plans to hold a campaign event at the White House on Saturday in which he will speak from his balcony to guests on the lawn.

Trump intends to return to the campaign trail on Monday evening with a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida, at the Orlando Sanford International Airport.

More: Trump to resume campaigning with in-person events at White House and in Florida

Trump spent three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for COVID-19. He returned to the White House on Monday, then two days later, he re-entered the Oval Office.

The first presidential debate took place in Cleveland last week. Two days later, Trump announced he tested positive for COVD-19. Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris took part in the lone vice presidential debate Wednesday night.

Amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19 after the string of positive tests for the president, top White House staff and Republican allies, plexiglass was installed between Pence and Harris at Wednesday night's debate. The two candidates were spaced more than 12 feet apart, though neither candidate wore a face mask during the debate.

Trump isn't the first incumbent president to back out of a debate. President Jimmy Carter in 1980 refused to take part in a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters. But a debate was held anyway between Republican Ronald Reagan and independent candidate John Anderson. Commission chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said having a stand-alone debate with just Biden wasn't an option because of federal election laws.

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Second presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump canceled

Ahead of 3rd debate, Trump again goes after moderator. This time it's NBC's Kristen Welker he calls 'unfair.' .
Trump praised Welker in the past, complementing her in January for landing a gig on NBC's "Today" show. "They made a very wise decision," Trump said."She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game," Trump tweeted Saturday.

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