Trump campaign agrees to face-to-face debate if contests delayed a week

The Trump campaign on Thursday suggested it would agree to a face-to-face debate with former Vice President Joe Biden if the contests later this month were delayed a week.

“The American people should not be deprived of the chance to see the two candidates for president debate face to face two more times just because the Commission on Presidential Debates wants to protect Joe Biden,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.

“We agree that this should happen on October 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to October 29,” Stepien said. “The CPD and the media cannot hide Joe Biden forever. Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates on these dates, October 22 and 29.”

The Biden campaign rejected Stepien’s proposal.

“Donald Trump doesn’t make the debate schedule; the Debate Commission does,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We accepted the three dates — Sept. 29, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22 — in June. Trump chose today to pull out of the October 15th debate. Trump’s erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar, and pick new dates of his choosing.”

“We look forward to participating in the final debate, scheduled for October 22, which already is tied for the latest debate date in 40 years,” Bedingfield said. “Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That’s his choice.”

Earlier Thursday, Trump said he wouldn’t “waste my time” by taking part in a virtual debate with Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates said candidates would participate in next week’s debate from separate remote locations.

“No, I’m not going to waste my time in a virtual debate,” Trump said on Fox Business Thursday morning. “That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do … and then they cut you off whenever they want,” he continued.

Biden wouldn’t say what he would do if Trump failed to show up to the remote debate.

“We don’t know what the president’s going to do. He changes his mind every second. For me to comment on that now would be irresponsible,” Biden told reporters in Arizona where he’s holding a campaign event. “You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth.”

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