The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) ultimately moved to cancel the upcoming presidential debate between Trump and Biden after 45 voiced his refusal to participate.
"On October 8, CPD announced that for the health and safety of all involved, the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, would be conducted virtually," read the CPD's Friday news release.
"Subsequently, the campaigns of the two candidates who qualified for participation in the debate made a series of statements concerning their respective positions regarding their willingness to participate in a virtual debate on October 15, and each now has announced alternate plans for that date."
"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 release noted.
CPD had announced Thursday that the second presidential debate would resemble more of a town meeting "in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations."
The re-election campaign of Trump, who recently tested positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, responded to the CPD's Friday decision to cancel the event and claimed "there is no medical reason to stop the October 15 debate in Miami from proceeeding as scheduled, since the President will be healthy and ready to debate."
Trump campaign:— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 9, 2020
"There’s nothing that says that President Trump and Joe Biden can’t debate together without the overlords at the commission having a say in the matter. We would be glad to debate one-on-one without the commission’s interference." pic.twitter.com/L9hRLc6rDy
The US president previously slammed the format change during an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo.
“I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, that is ridiculous,” he said.
Biden's campaign team acknowledged Trump's decision to back out by announcing an October 15 town hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
The US president was overheard coughing during a Thursday night interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity. Trump appeared to ignore Hannity when asked whether he received a negative COVID-19 test result after returning from his four-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday.
He went on to assert to Hannity that Steve Scully, the moderator for the now-canceled debate, is a "never-Trumper."
Trump says he wants to debate Biden but wants moderators like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Judge Jeanine, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, or Tucker Carlson pic.twitter.com/52wJO9SStn— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 9, 2020
Nevertheless, Trump reportedly intends to host up to 2,000 people for an event on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday. He also announced via social media that he will be traveling to Sanford, Florida, on Monday to hold a "very BIG RALLY."