Biden: 'We shouldn't have' second debate if Trump still has COVID-19

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion The Fed has a clear mandate to mitigate climate risks Biden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' MORE said Tuesday he and President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE should not go ahead with next week's presidential debate if Trump still has COVID-19.

Biden, who clashed with Trump at a chaotic first debate last week, told reporters at an airport in Hagerstown, Md., that the pair's second scheduled faceoff should follow protocols from health officials.

The former vice president said he will ultimately be guided by the Cleveland Clinic, which is overseeing health conditions for all presidential and vice presidential debates this year.


“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said of Trump, who was diagnosed with the disease last Thursday.

“I think we were gonna have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem, so I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do,” he added.

The prospect of holding the next two debates between Biden and Trump, scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, was thrown into question after the president announced last week that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Raskin: Grisham told Jan. 6 panel about 'names that I had not heard before' Grisham says former Trump officials meeting next week 'to try and stop him' MORE tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since then, several White House officials and members of Trump’s reelection campaign, as well as outside advisers, have been diagnosed with the illness.

The two presidential contenders did not make any physical contact at the first debate last week, and their podiums were spaced about 12 feet apart.


Still, Fox News host and debate moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceWolf Blitzer will host an evening newscast on CNN's streaming service Audie Cornish hired by CNN, will host show and podcast on streaming service The five biggest media stories of 2021 MORE said last week that Trump arrived too late to be tested on-site for COVID-19, and members of his family and campaign did not wear masks throughout the event, fueling worries over the possible spread of the virus throughout the venue.

Biden has tested negative for the coronavirus three times since Trump's announcement on Friday, though it could be two weeks since exposure for a positive test result to be returned.

Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday after a four-day stay to receive treatment for COVID-19. He said he felt well and returned to downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic, comparing the virus to the common flu, which statistics show is less deadly than COVID-19. 

The president’s reelection campaign maintained Tuesday that Trump intends to attend both of the remaining two debates.

"The President intends to participate in the debate in person," the campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said in a statement to The Hill.

Biden said he looks forward to debating Trump, adding he hopes “all the protocols are followed.”