THE next political showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is set to take place in just one week on October 15.
But after Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus and was airlifted to hospital on Friday (October 2, 2020), the second US presidential debate was due to be held virtually.
⚠️ Read our US election live blog for the very latest news on Donald Trump's coronavirus battle
Will the next US presidential debate still happen on October 15?
The second presidential debate is due to take place at 9pm on Thursday October 15 – or 2pm UK time on Friday October 16 – at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.
The date will come 15 days after Donald Trump revealed he and wife Melania tested positive for Covid-19.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said the change was vital to "protect the health and safety of all", adding the debate was due to be held in the form of a town meeting.
But shortly after the announcement, the President told Fox Business "I'm not doing to do a virtual debate," branding it "a waste of time" and adding "they cut you off whenever they want".
Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, echoed the president's sentiments, saying: "We'll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead."
The news comes just one day after Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris went head to head live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Will the debate be rearranged?
It is unclear yet whether the debate will be rearranged following the president's decision to pull out.
Moderator host, C-Span's Steve Scully, and the debate audience were due to be located in Miami , Florida, with Trump taking part from the White House.
The virtual debate was partly to remove any concerns that President Trump could still be infectious from his ongoing coronavirus battle and pose a risk to Biden, audience members, or debate staff.
Could the US presidential election be delayed?
It is technically possible for a presidential election to be delayed – although the power to set an election date does not sit in the executive office.
The Constitution gives that power to Congress, the legislative branch, meaning it would be up to law makers to rearrange a date – and postponing an election could be more trouble than it’s worth.
The United States has never delayed a presidential election and only moved it for administrative reasons twice—both within the first 60 years of the country’s founding.
No presidential election has ever been delayed, however, due to a national crisis – not even the Civil War or the Great Depression.
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