Presidential debate: Biden says second event should be cancelled if Trump still has coronavirus

Democrat said ‘too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem,’ ahead of debate next week

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 07 October 2020 13:20
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Cancel debate if Trump still has Covid-19, Biden says

Joe Biden has said that a second televised presidential debate with Donald Trump should be cancelled if his counterpart continues to test positive with coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters as he boarded a plane in Delaware on Tuesday, the Democratic presidential nominee said strict rules would be needed for the event due to take place in Miami, Florida, next Thursday.

“I think if he still has Covid, we shouldn’t have a debate,” the former vice president said. “We’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem.”

He added that he was "looking forward to being able to debate" his opponent, but that “I don’t know what his status is”, since the president last tested positive on Thursday.

In comparison, the Biden campaign has continued to disclose the test results of its candidate, who again tested negative for the virus on Tuesday.

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has avoided disclosing whether or not the president has yet to test negative, with his personal physician, Sean Conley, avoiding questions on the matter.

Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman, also downplayed the suggestion that next week’s debate could be cancelled, telling Politico on Tuesday that “president Trump will be healthy and will be there,”

“There’s no getting out of this one for Mr Biden and his protectors in the media can’t cover for him,” Mr Murtaugh added.

The 74-year-old’s return to the White House on Monday came after three nights in care at the Walter Reed National Medical Centre outside Washington D.C., having suffered two drops in oxygen levels over the weekend.  

Multiple presidential aides have tested positive for coronavirus since the president’s diagnosis, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and senior adviser Stephen Miller.

White House Covid-19 infections will likely take centre stage on Wednesday night as Democratic senator Kamala Harris debates vice president Mike Pence, who has not tested positive for coronavirus.

A third televised presidential debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden is also due to take place on 22 October in Nashville, Tennessee, before the 3 November election.

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