Trump didn’t want to do a ‘glorified conference call,’ Eric Trump says of canceled debate

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Eric Trump pinned the blame on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for the cancellation of the Oct. 15 presidential debate, after the debate commission made the event a virtual one following President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.

The president’s son told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Sunday that Biden “didn’t want to stand on the stage with my father, and that should tell you everything you know you need to know about him.”

“Literally, my father wants nothing more than to debate Thursday,” he added on “This Week.“

But after the Commission on Presidential Debates moved to make the Oct. 15 debate virtual for the health and safety of those involved — it was the president who said he was not interested in participating.

“I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about,” the president said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business on Oct. 8, following the commission’s announcement.

After no compromise was reached between the Biden and Trump teams, the commission canceled the debate, saying in a statement: “The campaigns of the two candidates who qualified for participation in the debate made a series of statements concerning their respective positions regarding their willingness to participate in a virtual debate on October 15, and each now has announced alternate plans for that date.”

Eric Trump went on to defend his father’s position on the matter, saying that he “didn’t want to do a glorified conference call for a presidential debate.”

“My father wants to stand on the stage with his opponent,” he said. “That’s how debates have been handled in America for the last 200 years. You’ve stood there and you’ve debated somebody, and my father doesn’t want to do a glorified conference call. He wants to stand on the stage, look somebody in the eyes and Biden’s not willing to do that.”

A 1960 presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon actually featured the two candidates in different locations — Nixon in California, Kennedy in New York. The debate’s moderator was in Chicago, along with a panel of reporters.

Biden deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, came to the candidate’s defense, saying that it was not Biden but the president who declined to participate under the commission’s adjusted format.

“We had every intention of showing up on the 15th,” Bedingfield told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.“ “He, Donald Trump, refused to participate in a virtual town hall, so we instead scheduled a national network town hall so Joe Biden can take questions from voters.”

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