Second Presidential Debate Going Virtual Over COVID-19 Concerns


Next week’s debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat challenger Joe Biden will be held virtually, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning.

In the wake of Trump’s positive test for COVID-19, the Oct. 15 showdown will involve the two candidates debating from remote locations for “health and safety” reasons, the nonpartisan commission said in a statement.

Moderator Steve Scully and the audience for the town hall-style event will be on site in Miami. Trump and Biden will answer their questions virtually, the commission said.

The first of three debates between Trump and Biden occurred Sept. 29, two days before Trump announced that he had the coronavirus. He was hospitalized for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and was given several drugs and supplements to treat the illness before his release Monday evening.

Trump insisted Tuesday that he intended to debate Biden as scheduled, saying, “It will be great!”

Biden said he was more hesitant to do an in-person session because of Trump’s health, saying they “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID-19 positive.

Several people close to Trump who work in the White House also have been diagnosed with the virus over the last week, which has caused alarm at the highest levels of the government.

The third and final presidential debate is slated for Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence debated Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, for their only showdown ahead of the Nov. 3 election.