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Second Presidential Debate to Go Virtual

(Image credit: Fox News)

WASHINGTON—The 2020 presidential election is adding another new wrinkle, as the second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is now expected to take place virtually rather than in-person.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced today, Oct. 8—one week before the second presidential debate is scheduled to take place—that the candidates will participate in the debate from separate remote locations. The debate will still be conducted as a town hall and moderator Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor at C-SPAN, will be at the original location for the debate in Miami. The White House Press Pool will be responsible for covering the debate.

The decision to have the candidates participate virtually comes after it was revealed on Oct. 2 that Trump tested positive for COVID-19. The president spent last weekend at Walter Reed Hospital, and then was released on Monday, Oct. 5. Reports have indicated that he has had mild symptoms at times since contracting the virus. In addition, multiple White House staffers and aides to the president have also tested positive for COVID-19 in subsequent days. 

It is recommended by the CDC and other top health officials that those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or come in contact with someone who has tested positive, self-quarantine for a time of up to two weeks to help prevent spreading the virus. The Oct. 15 date of the second presidential debate falls within that recommended time frame.

In reaction to the CPD’s announcement, Trump said in a Fox Business interview that he would not participate in a virtual debate, calling it a “waste of time.” A CPD representative told CNN that it is the right of the president to decline to participate in a debate. 

The second presidential debate is scheduled to take place on Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. ET.