The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday canceled the October 15th debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“On October 8, CPD announced that for the health and safety of all involved, the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, would be conducted virtually,” the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement. “Subsequently, the campaigns of the two candidates who qualified for participation in the debate made a series of statements concerning their respective positions regarding their willingness to participate in a virtual debate on October 15, and each now has announced alternate plans for that date. 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.
The statement added: “Subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols, the debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.”
The development comes hours after the commission alleged that a hacker was behind debate moderator and longtime C-SPAN journalist Steve Scully’s tweet asking fired White House aide and outspoken Biden supporter Anthony Scaramucci, “Should I respond to Trump?”
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 9, 2020
In a statement, C-SPAN said the commission would launch an investigation the tweet that has since been deleted.
“Commission on Presidential Debates has stated publicly that the tweet was not sent by Scully himself and is investigating with the help of authorities,” the statement reads. “When additional information is available, we will release it.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 9, 2020
On Thursday, President Donald Trump pulled out of the debate after the commission unilaterally switched next week’s in-person debate to a virtual debate, citing health concerns stemming from the president’s coronavirus diagnosis. However, White House physician Dr. Conley has said that he anticipates President Trump can return to public engagements Saturday.
“I am not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” the president told Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria. “That is not what debating is all about. You sit behind a are computer and do a debate. That’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off when every they want.”
Later Thursday, President Donald Trump’s re-election proposed postponing the second presidential debate instead of holding a virtual event.
“We agree that this should happen on October 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to October 29,” the Trump campaign told reporters.
The proposal was later denied by the commission.
“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,” Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “There is also no reason there shouldn’t be the three total presidential debates as Joe Biden had originally agreed. 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.”
Murtaugh added: “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. We would be glad to debate one-on-one without the commission’s interference.”
The final debate is scheduled to take place on October 22nd.