Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is already looking to call off the second debate, saying if President Trump “still has COVID-19” come next week the two candidates shouldn’t face-off in Miami.
“Well, uh, I think if [Trump] still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden told reporters Tuesday evening in Maryland, according to a press pool report. “We’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem.”
The former Vice President said he was looking forward to the upcoming showdown that is posed to be a town hall-style debate scheduled to occur next Thursday in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami-Dade but seems to be using Trump positive diagnosis as an excuse to dodge the entire event.
“I’m not sure what President Trump is all about now,” Biden said. “I don’t know what his status is. I’m looking forward to being able to debate him, but I just hope all the protocols are followed, what’s necessary at the time.”
Biden added that he would base his debate participation on the doctors’ advice as well as the guidelines that Cleveland Clinic will set forth in safety precautions. The Cleveland Clinic is overseeing the health protocols for all three presidential and the only vice-presidential debates.
“So I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do,” he said. “If and when he shows up for debate.”
However, just a day prior Biden was asked a similar question by reporters before heading to Florida for a few campaign events. One reporter asked the Democratic nominee “what precautions” he wants to see implemented if Trump is able to go forward with the debate.
“Listen to the science. If the scientists say that it’s safe and the distances are safe, then I think that’s fine,” Biden said. “I’ll do whatever the experts say is the appropriate thing to do. I think we should be very cautious. I’m looking forward to have an opportunity to do a town hall format.”
Earlier Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that he looks “forward to the debate” Biden in person for the second face-off event.
I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh responded to Biden’s remark, confirming that the president will be at next week debate in person and “will be healthy,” rebuffing any calls from the former Vice President to cancel or delay the face-off.
“President Trump will be healthy and will be there,” Murtaugh said. “There’s no getting out of this one for Biden and his protectors in the media can’t cover for him.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates is currently weighing options with one being to hold the debate in an outdoor venue, according to a source who told the New York Times.