Joe Biden says he will hold a solo town hall after Trump backed out of the next debate
- Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign team said on Thursday, after President Donald Trump backed out of the next debate, that Biden would do a solo town hall.
- ABC News is set to host the town hall in Philadelphia on October 15.
- After the Commission on Presidential Debates announced earlier Thursday that the next debate would be held virtually, Trump, who has COVID-19, said he wouldn't do it.
- After Biden's announcement, the president's campaign called for the second debate to be moved back to October 22 and for the third to be held on October 29.
- Biden's team shot back, saying that "Trump's erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar."
Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign team announced on Thursday that he would do a solo town hall on October 15 instead of participating in the next presidential debate.
ABC News is set to host the town hall in Philadelphia, with George Stephanopoulos as the moderator.
"Joe Biden was prepared to accept the CPD's proposal for a virtual Town Hall, but the President has refused, as Donald Trump clearly does not want to face questions from the voters about his failures on COVID and the economy," the Biden campaign said in a statement." As a result, Joe Biden will find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly on October 15th, as he has done on several occasions in recent weeks."
Biden's campaign expressed hope that the commission would move the town hall to October 22 so that President Donald Trump "is not able to evade accountability."
"The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly. Every presidential candidate since 1992 has participated in such an event, and it would be a shame if Donald Trump was the first to refuse," the statement added.
The Commission on Presidential Debates had announced earlier Thursday that the next debate would be virtual "to protect the health and safety of all involved." Trump, who is still being treated for COVID-19, backed out.
"I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That's not what debating's all about," Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Thursday morning. "You sit behind a computer and do a debate — it's ridiculous."
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 8, 2020
The Trump campaign said the president would instead hold a rally.
The president has trailed Biden by significant margins in national polls and in recent polling in battleground states. The decision to opt out of a virtual debate denies Trump exposure to millions of voters with Election Day just weeks away.
After Biden's announcement on Thursday, the president's campaign also called for the debate to be moved back to October 22 and for the third debate, originally scheduled for October 22, to be moved back a week, to October 29.
In a statement, Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, baselessly accused the commission of attempting to give Biden an advantage via a virtual debate.
"As President Trump said, a virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden," Stepien said.
Polls found that Biden got much higher marks than Trump for his performance in the first debate, on September 29, two days before the president was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Later Thursday, the Biden campaign pushed back on the Trump campaign's suggestion to reschedule both debates.
"Trump's erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar, and pick new dates of his choosing," Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.
The campaigns' back-and-forth puts the next two debates in question with time running out before the election.
This article has been updated.
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