Following the announcement that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was revising the format of the Oct. 15 debate to become a “virtual” event, with candidates appearing from remote locations, President Trump said he wouldn’t be participating. This decision put the entire debate schedule in flux, with former Vice President Biden quickly scheduling a Town Hall event on with ABC News on Oct. 15 instead of the debate.
As a result, the next Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will not be held until Oct. 22. The President is also trying to add a third debate, on Oct. 29, but the Biden campaign has said they will not agree to participate.
As it stands now, the Oct. 22 debate might be the final time the candidates meet on the debate stage before Election Day, according to The Hill:
An extended back-and-forth between the campaigns threw the presidential debate schedule into chaos Thursday, raising the question: Will there even be another debate?
There are health concerns clouding the future of the potential face-offs, given the extraordinary situation that one of the candidates, President Trump, currently is infected with a contagious and potentially deadly virus.
In addition to the safety concerns, there is also a political standoff between the two campaigns, with a fight over the dates and settings of the two remaining debates.
After the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said Thursday that next week’s debate, set for Oct. 15, would be virtual “to protect the health and safety of all involved,” Trump abruptly pulled out, calling it “ridiculous” to “sit behind a computer and do a debate.”
After his campaign then called for revising the debate schedule — one on Oct. 22, as scheduled, and a new one on Oct. 29 — the Biden campaign rejected their proposal, saying it was the president’s choice to pull out of next week’s event.
As for the final debate on Oct. 22, “Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That’s his choice,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield in a statement.
There would be pros and cons to the virtual format on Oct. 15, but it’s not an ideal debate situation for either candidate. With safety as a top concern of the Debate Commission, however, they don’t seem open to a different option for next week.
This leaves Oct. 22 as the final debate since it also seems unlikely and strategically foolish for the Biden campaign to agree to another debate literally days before Election Day on Oct. 29.
From what it appears now, the Oct. 22 debate will be the last Trump-Biden debate. The second debate, which was scheduled for Oct. 15, was set as the “town meeting” debate where candidates would take questions from the audience. There’s no word yet whether that format will be carried over to the Oct. 22 debate, but the Bidan campaign has requested that the “town meeting” format be kept.
This is a continually evolving story so there may be changes as the campaigns debate the debates.