Biden to participate in ABC town hall Oct. 15 in lieu of Trump debate

Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE will take part in a town hall forum hosted by ABC News on the night of what was supposed to be the second presidential debate.

The former vice president will instead participate in an event in Philadelphia moderated by ABC anchor George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Senate Republican 'not happy' with Pelosi plan to delay infrastructure vote MORE.

The announcement indicates that the second presidential debate will no longer take place as planned Oct. 15 after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE balked at the decision to make it a virtual event for safety reasons.


The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning that the Oct. 15 town hall-style debate in Miami would take place virtually, with Biden and Trump participating from separate locations. Moderator Steve Scully and voters would still be in Florida.

The announcement came as health experts raised concerns about whether it would be safe to hold the event in person given Trump is still recovering from COVID-19 following his diagnosis late last week. But the president quickly shot down the proposal of holding a virtual event, saying it would be a waste of time.

"That’s not acceptable to us," Trump said on Fox Business Network.


The Trump campaign, which complained it was not consulted about making the debate virtual, said it would hold a rally instead on Oct. 15, despite questions about whether the president would still be contagious at that point. The campaign later urged the commission to delay the two remaining debates by a week each so that both candidates can participate on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.

But the Biden campaign appeared uninterested in that idea, deferring to the commission to set the schedule and arguing Trump should not be able to change it.

"We look forward to participating in the final debate, scheduled for October 22, which already is tied for the latest debate date in 40 years,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. "Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That's his choice." 

The ABC town hall would mark Biden's second in recent weeks. He faced questions in Miami at an NBC town hall on Monday.

Trump sat for a town hall event with Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia last month.