There has been much speculation over how or whether the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) would make changes to the second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden. The commission today announced a major change to the format for the Oct. 15 debate which now includes the candidates appearing remotely from separate locations.

Second Presidential Debate
 President Donald J. Trump and Former Vice President Joe R. Biden
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020
Time: 9 pm ET (8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT)
Channel: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and more!
Location: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, FL
Moderator: Steve Scully, C-SPAN Political Editor

According to the news release, moderator Steve Scully will still be seated at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, the location for the debate, but the candidates will not be together in the building.

Exactly where and how the candidates will appear remotely remains to be explained, or what kind of rule changes will be involved to keep an orderly debate with the potential for cross-talk and audio delays frequently present in video conference situations. It’s assumed the CPD will find a workable solution that will allow for back-and-forth debate without appearing like a cable news segment.

Biden had stated earlier this week that he was fully willing to participate in the second debate assuming that President Trump tests negative by that time for Covid-19. The timeline for the debate, and the president’s diagnosis last week, leaves little room for days of testing to show multiple negative tests before the debate. It may out of this abundance of caution, and to avoid delaying or rescheduling the debate, that the CPD decided to move the event to a virtual setting for the candidates.

President Threatens to Skip

Following the CPD announcement of the virtual format, President Trump threatened to pull out of the debate calling it a “waste of time,” while speaking with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo:

From what it sounds like according to the CPD press release, this debate will be scheduled as a “virtual” event on Oct. 15 or it simply won’t happen. With the president threatening to pull out of the debate, it’s unknown what the status of the debate will be.

Whether the President is serious or working on negotiations over how the debate will take place is unclear. This is a developing story so the circumstances can change rapidly. Stay tuned for updates.