The Commission on Presidential Debates has cancelled next week’s showdown between President Donald Trump and his challenger, vice-President Joe Biden.
The decision was announced on Friday, October 9, 2020, after the President said he would not participate in a virtual format.
The Commission said in a statement that: “Each (candidate) now has announced alternate plans for that date; it is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15.”
The move leaves just one more debate on the schedule before the November 3 election, which is October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
AFP reports that debates have been a feature of every US presidential election since 1976, with three debates near the end of a campaign the standard since 2000.
The Commission had announced on Thursday, October 8, 2020, that it was converting the October 15 town hall debate to a virtual affair out of an abundance of caution because President Trump had tested positive for the Coronavirus disease; but the President, who has been eager to return to the campaign trail and hold live events, refused to participate in the virtual format and sought unsuccessfully to return it to an in-person debate.
President Trump’s Challenger, Mr Biden, had said earlier this week that he would not debate with President Trump in person if he still had the virus, and his campaign called President Trump’s refusal to adapt to a virtual format as “shameful.”