Debate commission co-chair: ‘No evidence whatsoever’ Trump has tested negative
Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said President Trump’s campaign has presented “no evidence whatsoever” that he has tested negative for the coronavirus amid controversy over the remaining presidential debates.
Fahrenkopf told Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade on Friday that he wanted to have a debate next week while maintaining that doing it virtually would be the “safest way to go.”
“We’re talking about something that will happen in less than a week, if it had originally gone forward. Less than a week,” Fahrenkopf said. “At this point in time, there is no evidence whatsoever whether or not when the president tested negative.”
Kilmeade said he contacted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows prior to the interview, who said the president would have two negative COVID-19 tests by Oct. 15. But Fahrenkopf cast doubt on Meadow’s assertion.
“Supposedly he passes one, and then he doesn’t have the other, and then the whole debate’s gone,” Fahrenkopf said.
Trump said in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday that he would not participate in the second debate scheduled for Oct. 15 after the commission announced it would be a virtual event. The commission said the event would be a virtual town hall to “protect the health and safety of all involved.”
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump told Fox Business, claiming the Commission on Presidential Debates is “trying to protect” Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, that is ridiculous,” Trump added.
Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Oct. 1, and left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday after a four-day stay. White House physician Sean Conley issued a memo on Thursday saying the president would be able to make a “safe return” to public events on Saturday.
“Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” he said in a memo.
Prior to his diagnosis, Trump had said he would oppose changes to the final two debates, after the commission was weighing changes to impose more order after Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace at the first debate on Sept. 29.
After Trump expressed disapproval for the new debate format Thursday, Biden called for the Oct. 15 debate to be moved to Oct. 22, which prompted the Trump campaign to suggest moving both debates, with the third taking place Oct. 29. However, Biden has said he was against adding any new debates to the schedule.
Trump plans to rally supporters on Oct. 15 as opposed to a debate, despite concerns that he may still be contagious. Biden has announced that he will participate in his own town hall hosted by ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in Philadelphia.
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