World

COVID-positive president won’t debate online

9 October 2020

6:00 PM

9 October 2020

6:00 PM

The droplets had barely settled after Wednesday’s vice presidential debate when next week’s head-to-head between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was thrown into doubt.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced a change in format this morning, switching the October 15 debate to a virtual event ‘in order to protect the health and safety of all involved’. Trump currently has COVID-19 and no one on his campaign will tell us when his last negative test was before his diagnosis. The Commission’s concern is understandable.

But not so fast. Reacting to the Commission’s change during an appearance on Fox Business, the President declared he would no longer participate. ‘I’m not gonna waste my time on a personal debate. Sit behind a computer, ridiculous. They cut you off,’ Trump said. ‘I’m not doing a virtual debate.’


Viewers of the 90-minute mess chaired by Chris Wallace last week may be wondering how a virtual debate could be even more of a waste of time.

By pulling out, Trump is following the advice of his 2016 campaign adviser Roger Stone, who wrote in The Spectator on Wednesday that ‘the second Presidential Commission Debate is a set-up which the President should side-step.’

It seems like almost a year ago that we were scrutinizing Trump’s claim that Biden was on drugs and should be tested before the first debate. It was last week. Now, yonks later, we’re mulling over the President’s chemical intake after he tested positive for coronavirus. His doctors have given him an emergency antibody treatment called Regeneron, as well as prescribing him a corticosteroid. Dexamethasone’s side effects can include ‘mood changes’: perhaps this offers an explanation for the President’s impulsive withdrawals from both the debate and stimulus package negotiations.

Trump’s Twitter habits are also accentuated: he’s threading more all caps commentary into his fervent retweeting sprees and posting these incredible pieces-to-camera. Is Trump just shooting from the hip while he trips balls? If so, let’s hope he delivers on his promise to supply the drugs he’s on to every American for free. They seem fun…

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