Trump Rejects Virtual Debate

The infected guy wants a face-to-face debate.

Source: The White House

Due to the threat of spreading the coronavirus, the Commission on Presidential Debates decided to shift next week’s presidential debate to a virtual format. The main reason for the concern regarding spreading said virus, Donald Trump, has rejected that idea.

Via the Politico: ‘I’m not going to waste my time’: Trump says he won’t do virtual debate against Biden

“I’m not going to waste my time on virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about,” Trump said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business. “You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want.”

As someone on NPR said this morning in regards to the last quoted sentence, he said the quiet part out loud. I mean, if you can’t dominate by constantly interrupted, is it really even a debate?

And so as just to prove that that Commission is right to take the Trump campaign’s approach to the virus into consideration, note the following:

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien reaffirmed the president’s position in a statement Thursday, saying Trump will “pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

I would note that Stepien is one of the now almost three dozen persons linked to the White House who has recently contracted Covid-19.

Polling appears to indicate that Trump’s handling of his infection is redounding to Biden’s benefit. In fact it is doing so bigly, if I can use the term. (Or maybe this is just more multi-dimensional chess that mere mortals cannot hope to fathom).

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR08 says:

    For perspective, the third Nixon-Kennedy debate was virtual, Nixon in a studio in CA and Kennedy in NY. They managed to do it with 1960 technology. I read somewhere that they flew a can of paint across the country to ensure the set color was identical.

  2. inhumans99 says:

    You and James are sharing a brain today as he already put up a post. Too funny. I also love that Trump just wants a space to blather on uninterrupted without someone having the very easy means to mute him (as it would be easy to do using Zoom or something similar to Zoom for the virtual debate).

    Our President is losing his marbles as the days tick by. No one wants to be face to face with him now, even his supporters would not want a warm embrace by Trump…unless his supporters also want to be blessed by God to have come down with Covid, so what do I know, maybe lots of people still want to be face to face with Trump w/o plexiglass between them. We live in crazy times.

  3. Argon says:

    Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien reaffirmed the president’s position in a statement Thursday, saying Trump will “pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead

    What would really be ‘sad’ is the President being rushed to the hospital just prior to the rally. The optics on that would not only crush the campaign but also be re-shown for generations. So I can see why his election organization would take that risk: Clearly only the ‘best’ and ‘brightest’ on that team…

  4. Mu Yixiao says:
  5. Joe says:

    You know who needs a debate to try to change the trajectory? Donald J. Trump. You know who has leverage in setting the terms of that debate? Not Donald J. Trump. You know who watches debates (at least till last Tuesday)? A certain number of actually undecided and/or swing voters. You know who comes to a Donald J. Trump rally? Absolutely no undecided/swing voters.

    I thin the Debate Commission just does what it can to set up safe debates. If Trump wants to come, Biden will show up. If Trump stomps away, Biden will be just fine.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    trump knows he’s losing and that there is nothing he can do about it. He is throwing a 3 month tantrum, and he’s just getting started.

  7. CSK says:

    @Joe: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Trump can’t handle any event where he and he alone isn’t the cynosure of all eyes. I think it’s gotten to the point where he thinks he doesn’t exist unless he has the adoration of the masses. He’s incapable of sharing the spotlight with anyone else.

  8. dazedandconfused says:

    “….and then they cut you off whenever they want.”

    This indicates he doesn’t think his behavior that night is the reason his poll numbers are taking a massive nose-dive. Is he unaware he’s a monumental jackass? Or does he hold being one to be his best feature??

  9. Teve says:

    . It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want.”

    Isn’t that pretty much the explanation? Trump can’t bully and interrupt.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: I think the main reason is simply that it’s part of his narrative of trying to minimize the coronavirus and depict all safety measures to prevent its spread as a sign of weakness.

  11. Tony W says:

    Trump needs the airtime much more than Biden.

    Call his bluff

  12. Pylon says:

    Looks like ABC is giving the Time slot to Biden to have a townhall. Well played Donnie.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: He thinks being a monumental jackass is his god given right.