Trump says he prefers outdoor presidential debate so Biden can't read his answers 'off a computer screen'
Trump made the statement during an interview with FOX News medical expert Dr Marc Siegel on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'
President Donald Trump, on Friday, October 9, said that he would want the next presidential debate to be held outside rather than it be conducted virtually so that Democratic nominee Joe Biden "cannot read his answers off a computer screen". Trump made the statement during an interview with FOX News medical expert Dr Marc Siegel on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'.
Siegel, during the segment, asked Trump a question: "So I have a question and this is my own fantasy, Mr President. All of this back and forth controversy about the next debate. And if you test negative, and you've said you want it to be in person, how would you feel about a debate outside on Miami Beach?"
Trump answered it with: "Well, I'd have no trouble with it at all. In fact, when we have rallies outside, we've had no problem whatsoever. Outside is better than inside, as you know, with this crazy thing that's gone on."
Trump, during the first presidential debate last month, had said that his political rallies, which often violate city rules of social distancing and wearing face protection, have never triggered any coronavirus outbreaks. Minnesota state health officials, however, on Friday, stated that at least nine people who attended Trump's September rally in the city of Bemidji later tested positive for Covid-19.
"But, you know, we've always had a problem with this commission — this commission's been ridiculous, frankly," Trump continued. The Republican appeared to be alluding to the nonpartisan commission's desire to introduce additional rules in the debate, like cutting off a candidate's microphone if they continually interrupt their opponent during their time to speak.
"But who wants to do a debate on a computer?" Trump rhetorically asked during the Fox News interview on Friday. "I don't. Virtual debate — you got to be there. We did great in the last debate. You have to be there, you have to see the person. You can't do it on a computer. Besides that, you know Joe has a tendency to get the answers and read them off a computer when he's asked questions. So I'd rather — I would love to do it. Outside would be fine as far as I'm concerned," the Republican concluded.
The second presidential debate was formally canceled late on Friday after Trump refused to participate in a virtual event. After Trump pulled out of the debate, Biden scheduled his town-hall-style event on ABC for the same night, according to reports. The president, while talking to Fox News last week, had said: "I'm not going to waste my time doing a virtual debate."
The commission reportedly wanted to conduct the debate virtually to avoid potentially exposing Biden and other attendees to coronavirus considering the president was tested positive last week.
The Trump campaign suggested that if the president was still contagious, they would instead hold a virtual rally. The campaign has reportedly attempted to shift the date of the second debate to October 22 instead, and are seeking to push back the third debate by another week to October 29. The proposal, however, has been rejected by Biden's campaign, which is set to hold a virtual rally in light of the cancelation of the second debate.
A commission member who helped to create modern televised debates in 1960, Newton N Minow, said: "In seven decades of televised presidential debates, this is the first debate to be canceled. The loser is the American voter." Trump, meanwhile, will resume his signature rally beginning on Monday, October 12, in Florida.