Shortly after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced their unilateral decision to drastically alter the Oct. 15 matchup by making it virtual, President Trump said he wouldn’t waste his time doing that.
The two campaigns went back and forth throughout the day with new proposals, but after White House physician Sean Conley announced the president was cleared to resume public events starting Saturday, the Trump campaign argued the second debate should take place as originally planned.
“President Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, says the President will be medically cleared for ‘safe return to public engagements’ by Saturday, five full days before the originally scheduled debate in Miami on October 15. There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it, or otherwise alter it in anyway,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement Thursday.
“CPD Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf admits that they consulted with no one before unilaterally changing the format of a debate, well in advance of any knowledge of what the President’s condition would be on debate night,” he continued. “The commission must stop protecting Joe Biden from this in-person debate and allow the event to proceed as it was agreed to months ago. The American people can see through this obvious attempt to shield Biden from another shellacking like he got two weeks ago in Cleveland and the CPD must reverse course and let the debate proceed.”
Even before Conley’s statement, Ellie explained why there is no reason to hold the debate virtually based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations. The Trump campaign suspects the decision had more to do with redirecting the news cycle away from the VP debate.
“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,” he said. “Clearly the commission wanted to shift attention away from Pence’s complete victory."
Joe Biden can’t be hidden forever, he added. “Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates.”
Update: Now the CPD is claiming Scully's account got hacked.
Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf tells me that he was told debate moderator Steve Scully's Twitter account was hacked but adds he has no direct knowledge.— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) October 9, 2020