US presidential debate schedule changed after Trump’s Covid-19 infection

PHOTO: Screenshot/C-SPAN

The second US presidential debate, initially scheduled for next week, has now been postponed after President Donald Trump, who is still recovering from a bout of Covid-19, pulled out of the debate. Due to the current coronavirus outbreak at the White House, infecting several dozen people ranging from aides to senators and top military officers, organisers changed next week’s debate to be held “virtually” (online), but President Trump told Fox Business the decision was “not acceptable.”

After the last presidential debate, Trump called the bipartisan debate commission out for trying to “protect” Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien called the organisers “pathetic.”

Biden has increased his travel on the campaign trail while Trump remains off the campaign trail and in semi-quarantine after his recent Covid-19 infection. The US president spent 3 days in hospital last week and is still taking steroids to fight the virus. He says his recovery is near “miraculous” and told Fox Business “I’m feeling good, really good.”

The October 15 debate was set to be a town hall format in Miami, where the general public asks the questions rather than from a journalist or moderator. Spokesperson for the Biden campaign, Kate Bedingfield, says Trump is pulling out of the town hall debate because he doesn’t want to “to face questions from the voters about his failures on Covid and the economy.”

While Trump says he “beat” Biden “easily” at the last debate, it’s unclear how he would fare in a town hall setting.

Bedingfield is pushing for organisers to change the final scheduled debate on October 22 in Nashville to be changed from a one-on-one confrontation to a town hall format “so that the President is “not able to evade accountability.”

“Voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly.”

The Trump campaign agreed to the change, but also called for a new debate to be changed to October 29, just 5 days before Election Day on November 3. Trump’s campaign manager says “Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates on these dates, October 22 and 29.”

At first, Biden’s team shot down the idea of extending the debate schedule and Bedingfield said “Trump’s erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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