World, Americas, US Elections 2020

Trump refuses virtual presidential debate with Biden

‘I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,’ US president says about format

Ovunc Kutlu   | 08.10.2020
Trump refuses virtual presidential debate with Biden


US President Donald Trump said Thursday he would refuse to participate in a virtual presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

His comments were delivered to Fox Business hours after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that next week's debate will be held virtually. “That's not what debating is all about,” Trump said, arguing that the commission did not provide him any warnings about its decision and it is "trying to protect" his opponent, Biden.

"I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” the president said. “The commission changed the debate style and that's not acceptable to us. I beat him in the first debate, I beat him easily.”

Biden responded to Trump's claims in his home state of Delaware.

"We don't know what the president is going to do, he changes his mind every second so for me to comment on that now would be irresponsible," he said. "I'm going to follow the commission recommendations."

The first presidential debate Sept. 29 saw both candidates lock horns for 90 minutes, which repeatedly deteriorated into fiery exchanges and interruptions.

The commission said Thursday the debate scheduled to take place Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida would be a virtual meeting to "protect the health and safety of all involved."

Trump, who contracted the novel coronavirus last week, returned Monday to the White House after three days in the hospital. 

The president, 74, said both he and first lady Melania, 50, is feeling good right now. "I had a case. I got it knocked out," he said.

Trump praised the treatment he received from the Regeneron biotechnology firm and credited it for his recovery, saying "I view it as a cure, not just a therapeutic. It made me better" and promised to make it free for Americans.

After the president's treatment, Regeneron's drugs have been in high demand, while patients in the US have begun asking the company to join clinical trials for its antibody-based COVID-19 drugs. 

Regeneron said Wednesday it applied for emergency authorization for its experimental antibody therapy. The company's shares soared 7.1% Monday and gained more than 4% on Wednesday and Thursday. 

While Trump is pushing for Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use for Regeneron's treatment, he also asked for authorization for another potential COVID-19 treatment candidate from Eli Lilly, whose shares on NYSE increased more than 6% in the last two trading days.

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