Trump campaign says he'll skip the virtual 2nd debate and 'do a rally instead'

President Donald Trump participates in the first presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on Sep
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The next 2020 presidential debate is going virtual — but President Trump apparently doesn't plan to be there.

Trump on Thursday slammed the Commission on Presidential Debates' announcement that the second presidential debate will be going virtual for health and safety reasons. The president, who announced he tested positive for COVID-19 days after the first 2020 debate last week, called this change "not acceptable" and said he will no longer be participating.

"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," Trump told Fox Business. "I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That's not what debating's all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It's ridiculous."

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Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who like Trump also recently tested positive for COVID-19, said in a statement the campaign will "pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead."

The Commission on Presidential Debates said it was making its decision to take the debate virtual and have the candidates participate remotely to "protect the health and safety of all involved" following Trump's recent coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization. The White House has said Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1, but it has not disclosed when he last tested negative for the coronavirus.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.