President Donald Trump says he will not participate in the next presidential debate, after the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday the debate will be virtual “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved.”
The commission said Trump, who is being treated for COVID-19, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden would participate from separate remote locations.
In a statement, the commission said the debate, which is scheduled for next Thursday, will be held as originally planned at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami, Florida. The “town hall” format, with the candidates taking questions from audience members, will also remain the same.
Asked about the announcement on Fox Business, Trump said, “I’m not going to waste my time in a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate is ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”
The Biden campaign has said the former vice president will participate.
In a statement, the Biden campaign said “given the President’s refusal to participate on October 15th, we hope the Debate Commission will move the Biden-Trump Town Hall to October 22nd so that the President is not able to evade accountability.”
Trump has been recovering from COVID-19 and has been confined to the White House since returning Monday from the Walter Reed Medical Center.
He said he is doing well and is ready to hold campaign rallies.
“I think I’m better to the point where I’d love to do a rally tonight,” he said.
Trump’s doctors have not said if he is ready to hold rallies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be isolated for at least 10 days. Trump’s positive COVID-19 test was revealed late last week.