Welp, it's official: Donald Trump isn't willing to participate in a virtual debate. The event would have been the second Presidential debate between the two candidates and is set for October 15.
After Trump tested positive for COVID-19 last week the status and formatting of future presidential debates was thrown into question.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning that next week's debate between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump-who is infected with the coronavirus-will be held virtually "in order to protect the health and safety of all involved".
"As President Trump said, a virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden because he would be relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker", the Trump campaign wrote.
Asked about the announcement on Fox Business, Trump said, "That's not acceptable to me". "I'm not going to do a virtual debate". That's not what debating's all about - you sit behind a computer and do a debate.
"And then they cut you off whenever you want". "I'm looking forward to being able to debate him".
As a preview of the dialogue we'll be missing, Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien, who has also tested positive for covid-19, called the Commission on Presidential Debates "swamp creatures", attacking them for rushing "to Biden's defence by unilaterally cancelling an in-person debate". Instead of debating Mr Trump on Thursday, he will take part in a town hall sponsored by ABC News.
Mr Trump's doctor, Sean Conley, said the President has had no COVID-19 symptoms for more than 24 hours and has been fever-free for more than four days.
Both Pence and Harris reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 before Wednesday's debate.
The first debate was widely panned after Trump frequently interrupted Biden, resulting in limited productive discussion about the many issues facing the country, including a pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down, unrest over police violence against Black people, and tens of millions of Americans out of work.
And prior to the VP debate, Pence's team tried to oppose the presence of the plexiglass barriers on stage, but they eventually agreed.
The debate was due to be hosted by the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts in Miami on October 15 at 9pm ET (2am in the UK).
The Trump campaign argued that the debate commission was trying to "hide" Joe Biden from the people.