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‘Not wasting my time’: Trump vows to boycott virtual debate with Biden

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/8/2020 Dave Goldiner

President Trump says he won’t debate Democrat Joe Biden next week after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it would be held virtually as a safety measure.

“Not wasting my time with a virtual event,” Trump told Fox Business News.

Trump, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, announced he would bail on the second clash scheduled for October 15 after a non-partisan commission said the president and Biden will “participate from separate remote locations” in the town hall-style debate.

The Biden campaign said the former VP will debate virtually.

"[He] looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression, said Kate Bedingfield, Deputy Campaign Manager for Biden.

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Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden © JIM WATSON President Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden

President Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden (JIM WATSON/)

The Trump campaign calls the virtual plan a “sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden” and says he will hold rally instead.

“For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic,” Bill Stepien, Trump campaign manager said in a statement. “The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

The Republican president contracted COVID-19 last week, just 48 hours after debating Biden in person for the first time in Cleveland. While the two candidates remained a dozen feet apart during the debate, Trump’s infection sparked health concerns for Biden and sent him to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests before returning to the campaign trail.

It’s not the first debate in which the candidates are not in the same room. In 1960, the third presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy was broadcast with the two candidates on opposite coasts.

This is a breaking news story - updates to follow.

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