President Trump has rejected the Commission on Presidential Debates's decision to make next week's second presidential debate a virtual affair. Instead, the Trump campaign said, the president will hold a rally.
The Trump team did not hold back in their multiple statements about the CPD's sudden change, arguing that the "swamp creatures" at the commission only changed the format because they saw how Vice President Mike Pence so easily won the debate against Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) Wednesday night. And they're not going to play along.
The Biden campaign has now responded. Since Trump won't agree to the virtual contest, the Democratic nominee will instead hold his own town hall. But they suggested a new debate for the second debate.
JUST IN: @JoeBiden also will not participate in the Oct. 15 debate, his campaign announces. Instead, @KBeds says Biden “will find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly on October 15th, as he has done on several occasions in recent weeks.” pic.twitter.com/vaBxRJSanw— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) October 8, 2020
In their second statement on the situation, the Trump team again lashed out at the CPD, but seemed willing to accept their counterparts' new proposed schedule.
“The American people should not be deprived of the chance to see the two candidates for president debate face to face two more times just because the Commission on Presidential Debates wants to protect Joe Biden," explained Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager. "It remains extremely suspect that the CPD announced the brand new virtual format at 7:30am ET today immediately after Vice President Mike Pence had just wiped the floor with Senator Kamala Harris. Clearly the commission wanted to shift attention away from Pence’s complete victory. As President Trump said, a virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden because he would be relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker. Voters should have the opportunity to directly question Biden’s 47-year failed record of leadership. We agree that this should happen on October 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to October 29. The CPD and the media cannot hide Joe Biden forever. Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates on these dates, October 22 and 29.”
Some notable conservatives share the president's frustration with the CPD.
I can't believe Commission on Presidential Debates did not discuss the next debate with @realDonaldTrump before declaring it would be virtual. I had assumed it had. Shocking. This is a broken, Beltway-dominated group of dinosaurs that is clearly #NeverTrump as was Chris Wallace— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 8, 2020
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News anchor Sandra Smith on Thursday that the CPD is "not a nonpartisan commission." It is, she explained, a group of Republicans "who have been very critical of this president" and a large group of Democrats. She said that the group has become "a total joke" and has egregiously intervened in the election process.
UPDATE: Team Biden rejects Team Trump's request to delay both debates.
?? Biden campaign rejects Trump camp proposal to delay both Oct. 15 and Oct 22. debates; Biden camp only wants Oct. 15 town hall-style delayed to Oct. 22 pic.twitter.com/OlbcLD42RC— Emily Larsen (@emilyelarsen) October 8, 2020
Editor's Note: This piece has been updated.