Trump demands debate schedule changes, Biden refuses
US President Donald Trump wants two face-to-face debates with challenger Joe Biden, said his campaign Thursday that undoes a planned virtual encounter but calls for a final showdown just five days before election day.
The two rivals clashed repeatedly over the problem, with Biden's camp emphasizing that Trump could not "rewrite" the calendar of appointments to his advantage.
The second debate, planned as a town hall-style event, took place on October 15, while the third and final meeting would take place a week later.
That timeline was challenged after Trump, who still works for Covid-19, opposed changing the virtual format of the second debate.
A personal city hall debate with questions from voters should "take place on October 22nd, and accordingly the third debate should then be postponed a week to October 29," just days after the November 3rd vote, Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.
Stepien also attacked the bipartisan Presidential Debate Commission, saying it wanted to "protect Joe Biden" by moving to a virtual format so voters could not "question" the former vice president directly about his long record.
The commission previously said it made the change to "protect the health and safety of everyone involved".
It was said that the debate would have a town hall structure, with the candidates in remote locations.
The Biden campaign said early Thursday the Democratic candidate was looking forward to "speaking directly to the American people".
In a follow-up statement, Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield reminded voters that Trump "is not on schedule for the debate" and that both campaigns agreed to the three dates in June.
"Trump's erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar and choose new dates of his choosing," Bedingfield said.
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