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Second Trump-Biden debate officially canceled

October 10, 2020

US debate organizers have canceled the second matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump after both sides disagreed on the format. Trump had refused to attend a virtual event, and plans to hold a live rally in Florida.

Biden and Trump supporters hold signs in Utah
Image: Rick BowmerAP/picture-alliance

The second US presidential debate planned for October 15 has been canceled by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday, as the event's format was thrown into disarray following US President Donald Trump's coronavirus diagnosis.

On Thursday, organizers called for a "virtual debate" to be held instead of the planned town hall format in Miami, Florida. Trump swiftly rejected the proposal and asked for the dates to be pushed back. However, the campaign of Trump's opponent, Joe Biden, objected to changing the dates. 

The Trump campaign then offered to hold the debates in person as scheduled, betting on the US president being cleared to hold public events by his doctors before the matchup on Thursday.

Read moreTrump says he is ready to return to campaign trail

However, the commission said it would not reverse its decision, citing health concerns as both candidates would appear together on stage and take questions from an audience of voters. 

Both candidates have "alternate plans" for October 15, the commission said, with Biden expected to hold a town hall discussion with voters and Trump planning a rally in Florida. 

The third debate, scheduled for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee, is still expected to take place. 

Read moreOpinion: A chaotic and depressing non-debate

Trump plans new rallies

On Saturday, Trump is planning to hold his first in-person event since his COVID-19 diagnosis on October 2, convening a large group outside the White House for a speech on "law and order" which he will deliver from the balcony. 

The event comes despite a coronavirus outbreak at the White House over the last week, with several Trump aides and campaign staff testing positive. 

"There are medical tests underway that will ensure that when the president is back out he will not be able to transmit the
virus," said White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who herself has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Read moreWhite House COVID-19 outbreak widens, as cases mount

Trump is also set to hold a rally in Florida on Monday, his campaign said. The event will be held at an airport in Sanford, a small city in the center of the battleground state just weeks ahead of the November 3 election.

Rally attendees will be given temperature checks and will be encouraged to wear masks, Trump campaign said. Florida has reported 2,900 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

wmr/dj (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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