The Commission on Presidential Debates has canceled the presidential debate scheduled for next Thursday, it confirmed Friday.
The decision comes a week after President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, which he appears to still be battling.
The debate commission said Thursday that in light of the president’s health, it would hold a virtual debate between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Oct. 15 instead of carrying on with an in-person one in Miami, but Trump rejected the plan. Biden’s camp said it would not put new dates on the calendar, citing how close the Nov. 3 election is.
Both candidates have now scheduled other events for that day, which left the debates commission no choice but to cancel next week’s event.
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the group said.
CNN and The Wall Street Journal were the first to report the news Friday.
Trump, who spent three nights hospitalized with the coronavirus, has been coy about the status of his condition. In a Fox News interview Thursday night, he dodged questions about whether he was still testing positive for the virus and would only say he’d seen his doctor and would be tested Friday.
The debate commission did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
The presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville is now the only one remaining on the calendar. Trump, who’s trailing Biden in all national polls and in several swing states, now loses out on one of his biggest opportunities to draw in voters. His campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Biden’s campaign accused Trump of trying to avoid a town hall-style event, which next week’s debate was scheduled to be.
“It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions ― but it’s no surprise,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Everyone knows that Donald Trump likes to bully reporters, but obviously he doesn’t have the guts to answer for his record to voters at the same time as Vice President Biden.”
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