Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in the second presidential debate has again fueled chaos in American politics.
The president instead plans to hold massive campaign rallies despite his coronavirus diagnosis. The debate was to take place at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Instead, Democratic nominee Joe Biden will participate in a town hall discussion hosted by ABC News.
Trump declined to participate after the Commission on Presidential Debates decided to hold the contest virtually because of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Commission members said they acted to move the debate online on the overwhelming advice of health experts.
It’s not yet known if the scheduled third debate on Oct. 22, will happen.
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on Oct. 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 22,” the commission said in a statement.
Biden said he was looking forward to the second contest after a bizarre Sept. 29 performance by Trump, who repeatedly ignored a moderator’s request to allow the former vice president to speak uninterrupted.
“Vice President Biden looks forward to making his case to the American people about how to overcome this pandemic, restore American leadership and our alliances in the world, and bring the American people together,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a release. “It’s shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions — but it’s no surprise.”
Trump’s bailing from the debate follows a week of unhinged activity in which the president called his disease “nothing to be afraid of,” and his aides still criticizing Biden for wearing a mask.
Trump’s campaign also blasted Democratic Vice President Nominee Kamala Harris for demanding social distancing and plexiglass to separate her from Vice President Mike Pence during their debate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and some Republicans bristled at Trump’s behavior and callousness before and after becoming infected.
“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump bellowed right after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received treatment for COVID-19.
The president staged what he apparently hoped was a triumphant return to the White House after exiting the hospital.
However, upon arrival, he found a mostly empty White House and that at least 20 members of his inner circle also joined him and first lady Melania Trump in testing positive for the virus.
Agitated by his diagnosis, Trump appeared this week on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, where he used profanity and attacked Harris, among others, calling the vice presidential hopeful and accomplished African American senator a “monster.”
The strange and unprecedented behavior exhibited by the president continued with his attacks on NBA superstar LeBron James, referring to the future Hall of Famer as a “hater.”
James has continually denounced the president’s race-baiting and ripped Trump for his refusal to condemn white supremacists.
Also, in Trump’s continued assault on fallen military members, he suggested that Gold Star families — those whose relatives have died in conflicts — could have spread the virus at a White House event in September.
While the New York Times noted that there’s no evidence for Trump’s claim, Fauci referred to the reception for the president’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “superspreader” event.
More than a dozen people who attended the event has tested positive for COVID-19.
“The data speak for themselves,” declared Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “We had a super spreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks.”