President Donald Trump has challenged Joe Biden to an in-person debate, after the independent commission that organizes the debates moved next week’s event online out of health concerns.

Trump has refused to participate in the October 15 debate if it is conducted virtually, but on Thursday night he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the two campaigns should organize their own in-person contest.

‘I’ll do it right now through your show,’ Trump said when asked if he would issue such a challenge. ‘Let’s go Joe. Let’s get a fair anchor, somebody like the great Sean Hannity. We’ll get Rush [Limbaugh]. We’ll get Mark [Levin],’ he added, referring to the conservative commentators.

‘Yeah, that’ll happen,’ Hannity responded, laughing. Trump, on a roll, continued listing his dream moderators.

President Donald Trump has challenged Joe Biden to an in-person debate, after the independent commission that organizes the debates moved next week's event online

President Donald Trump has challenged Joe Biden to an in-person debate, after the independent commission that organizes the debates moved next week’s event online

'Let's go Joe. Let's get a fair anchor, somebody like the great Sean Hannity. We'll get Rush [Limbaugh],' Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday

‘Let’s go Joe. Let’s get a fair anchor, somebody like the great Sean Hannity. We’ll get Rush [Limbaugh],’ Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday

‘We’ll get Judge Jeanine [Piro]. We got a lot of them out there. We’ll get Jesse [Watters] or Pete [Hegseth]. We got a lot of them. Tucker!’

In the interview, Trump blasted the Commission on Presidential Debates for refusing to reverse its decision to hold next week’s debate in-person, despite a memo from Trump’s physician claiming he would be clear for public events by Saturday. 

‘This debate commission’s a joke, the commission’s a joke,’ Trump said, going on to complain at length about audio issues during one of the 2016 presidential debates.

‘They were osillating my mic, they were turning it up and down while I was talking to Hillary,’ griped Trump.

He also complained that the moderator for next week’s debate was a ‘Never Trumper’ who ‘even worked for Biden at some point.’

C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully, who’s scheduled to moderate the second presidential debate, interned for Biden, then a U.S. senator, when he was a student in the 1970s. 

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity (above) that he'd like him to moderate a debate

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity (above) that he’d like him to moderate a debate

Trump also named conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (above) as a dream moderator

Trump also named conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (above) as a dream moderator

Trump flatly rejected the notion of participating in a virtual debate. ‘I’m not interested in doing a — I’m not Joe Biden, I’m not doing a virtual debate, sit behind a computer screen,’ he said.

‘He does news conferences where they give him the answer, and give him the question,’ Trump claimed about Biden.

‘He was choking like a dog the other night, but Chris Wallace bailed him in. Bailed him in or bailed him out,’ Trump continued.

‘This is a disgrace what’s going on,’ added Trump. ‘I’m not going to sit behind a computer and have somebody feed him answers because he has no idea.’

It came soon after White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley released Trump’s vital signs for the first time since he became infected, showing a pulse, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level all within normal ranges. 

Conley also stated that Trump’s medical team felt that he would be safe to return to public engagements by Saturday, which would mark nine days since Trump publicly announced testing positive for COVID-19.

Most scientists think that viral shedding continues for about 10 days after symptoms start in mild to moderate cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential election debate in Cleveland last week

Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential election debate in Cleveland last week

Soon after Conley’s memo was released, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien issued a statement citing it and demanded that the Commission on Presidential Debates reverse its decision earlier in the day to hold next week’s presidential debate virtually.

Stepien, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 last week, said that Conley’s note confirms that Trump will be ready for public engagements ‘five full days before the originally scheduled debate in Miami on October 15.’

‘There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting,’ he added, referring to the commission’s ruling earlier in the day.

‘The commission must stop protecting Joe Biden from this in-person debate and allow the event to proceed as it was agreed to months ago,’ Stepien said, calling it an ‘obvious attempt to shield Biden from another shellacking like he got two weeks ago in Cleveland.’

The chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates said it is not reconsidering shifting the second debate from virtual back to in-person, despite Stepien’s request.

CPD Chair Frank Fahrenkopf said late Thursday that the nonpartisan group’s decision was not going to be reversed. That means the second debate is probably not going to happen at all, after Trump said he would refuse to participate in a virtual debate.

Fahrenkopf says the group wanted to ‘protect the health and safety of all involved’ and that the decision was guided by the advice of the Cleveland Clinic, its heath partner for the 2020 debates.  



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