Trump says he won't take part in virtual debate

Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump told Fox Business' Maria Baritomo on Thursday that he will not take part in a virtual second presidential debate.

What he's saying: "I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. It’s not what debating is all about. … It’s ridiculous," the president said.

The state of play: The Commission on Presidential Debates announced earlier this morning that Trump and Joe Biden will appear at next week's second presidential debate from "separate remote locations."

  • The decision came as Trump continues to battle a coronavirus infection — and the debate is set to take place roughly two weeks after his initial diagnosis.
  • Both candidates will take part from still-unannounced separate locations, while moderator Steve Scully and town hall participants will be in Miami.

The big picture: Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris were separated by plexiglass at Wednesday's vice presidential debate, but Pence had repeatedly tested negative for coronavirus in the days leading up to the event.

  • Both Pence and Harris were separated by 13 feet — an increase from a planned seven feet — and a mask mandate was strictly enforced in the building after Trump family members and aides flouted the rule at the first debate.

Worth noting: It's not immediately clear if the campaigns, especially the Trump campaign, will agree to these terms.

  • The Trump campaign had played down the need for any additional protective measures during the Pence-Harris debate. Pence spokesperson Katie Miller told Axios about the plexiglass decision: "If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it."

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