Joe Biden says he will only debate coronavirus-infected Trump ‘if scientists say it’s safe’

Next debate is slated for 15 October in Florida, a crucial swing state

Kayleigh McEnany removes mask to speak to reporters before testing positive for coronavirus
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Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Monday he is willing to debate Donald Trump later this month even though the president has coronavirus “if scientists say it’s safe.”

Speaking to reporters in Delaware before boarding a flight to campaign in Florida, the former vice president said he intends to “listen to the science," adding: “If scientists say that it’s safe, that distances are safe, then I think that’s fine.”

Mr Biden declined to say whether he would prefer a virtual second debate.

During his first face-to-face debate with the president, the two stood about 10 feet apart. Mr Biden and others have suggested since Mr Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus on Thursday and hospitalized on Friday that the two might need to stand further apart during their next two scheduled debates.

The next one is set for 15 October in Miami but that falls within what would be Mr Trump’s 14-day quarantine period.

The Trump campaign has canceled all of the president’s rallies and other campaign events, and it is unclear whether he will feel up to next week’s debate. 

Coronavirus is washing through Mr Trump’s inner circle and among some top Republican officials.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she is positive, along with two of her press office deputies. Previously, close Trump aide Hope Hicks and campaign manager Bill Stepien tested positive. So did Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. An aide who serves as the president’s “body man” also tested positive, as did First Lady Melania Trump.

Reporters at the White House say many offices in the space they can access are empty and dark, with the Trump operation going remote.

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