Donald Trump backs out of next virtual debate
PIC: AFP

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday not to participate in next week's debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden after organisers announced that it will take place virtually because of the president's diagnosis of COVID-19.

"I'm not going to do a virtual debate" with Biden, Trump told Fox News, moments after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes due to Trump's diagnosis.

That cast serious doubts on whether the event will go forward, even as Biden's campaign vowed that its candidate will participate.

It is more evident that the race remains defined by the virus, even as Trump has attempted to underplay it.

The announcement from the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates cited a need "to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate." The candidates will "participate from separate remote locations" while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, it said.

The announcement came a week before Biden and Trump were scheduled to face off in Miami.

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