- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2020

The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided to cancel the Oct. 15 debate between President Trump and Joseph R. Biden.

The news came a day after the CPD announced Thursday that they were switching to a virtual format for the town hall event to try to protect the health and safety of people involved.

“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the commission said in a statement Friday.

The commission said the Oct. 22 debate in Nashville will take place as planned “subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols.”

Mr. Trump, who is recovering from the coronavirus, said minutes after the commission proposed the virtual format that he wouldn’t participate in a virtual debate.

Mr. Biden’s campaign had said they were willing to do a virtual debate, but made plans Thursday to hold a separate town hall event on Oct. 15 after Mr. Trump indicated he would not participate.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the cancellation.

The cancellation leaves the scheduled Oct. 22 debate in Nashville as the last chance for Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden to make their pitches to the American people in a direct one-on-one format.

The candidates squared off at an in-person debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29 several days before Mr. Trump announced on Oct. 2 that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Frank Fahrenkopf, who co-chairs the debate commission, said earlier Friday on Fox News Radio that debate crew like cameramen and lighting people were upset that they ended up sharing the same stage with Mr. Trump given his subsequent diagnosis.

Mr. Fahrenkopf said the switch to a virtual format was made out of public safety concerns and was not intended to benefit or hinder either candidate.

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