The Slatest

The Second Presidential Debate Will Be Virtual Because One of the Participants Has the Coronavirus

Trump and Biden stand behind podiums during the first presidential debate.
Could you please mute? Pool/Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced a format change Thursday morning for next week’s scheduled presidential debate in Miami, which will now be in a virtual town hall setting with each of the candidates taking questions from remote locations. The reasoning behind the switch is pretty obvious: The president of the United States has freaking COVID-19. And because the president is profoundly untrustworthy, we don’t really have a reliable timeline for when he got it and started showing symptoms, which would allow for some semblance of an idea of where he might be in the process of fighting off the disease and how contagious he may be. The move was made to “protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate,” the commission said in a statement.

Joe Biden, the one who would be most likely to get the coronavirus from the whole affair, agreed to the changes. President Donald Trump did not. “That’s not acceptable to us,” Trump told Fox Business Network. “I’m not going to a virtual debate. … I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating’s all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate; it’s ridiculous. And they cut you off whenever they want.”

“The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement. “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.” If you can’t endanger one person, might as well endanger thousands!

The third and final debate is scheduled for two weeks’ time, on Oct. 22, in Nashville, Tennessee.