White House pushes to hold Thursday’s canceled debate

A White House spokesman on Sunday called for a canceled in-person debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be rescheduled after the president’s physician said Saturday that Trump was no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.

White House deputy communications director Brian Morgenstern said Sunday that a previously planned debate scheduled for Thursday should take place, CNN reported.

“The President is ready to debate and his doctors have cleared him for participating in public engagements,” Morgenstern told reporters at the White House Sunday. “They’ve said he’s no longer a risk for transmission so it would be nice if the commission would get the debate back on the schedule.”

That follows a memo released by the Trump administration a day earlier in which White House physician Sean Conley said that he was “happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday canceled the second debate after a day of back-and-forth exchanges between the campaigns over the event’s format. 

The commission on Thursday morning announced it was shifting the debate from an in-person town hall-style format to a virtual debate. Trump refused the virtual format and proposed delaying both remaining debates by a week, which the Biden campaign shot down.

In the end, Trump scheduled a rally for Oct. 15 while Biden said he would hold his own town hall. The commission said in its statement Friday, “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”

Biden has said that he will follow the advice of medical experts as to whether he will appear in public with Trump again following the latter’s diagnosis but stated that he would not attend a debate if the president still tested positive for the virus.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said Tuesday.

“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 president declared himself COVID-free in a tweet Sunday morning that was labeled as misleading by Twitter due to his claim that he was now “immune” from the virus, as well as during a Sunday morning interview.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!” the president tweeted.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden

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