No Virtual Debate? No Problem! ABC News More Than Happy to Host Biden Town Hall

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

With the Oct. 15 virtual presidential debate effectively canceled after being rejected by Donald Trump, ABC News announced on Thursday it will host a town hall with Democrat challenger Joe Biden in its place.

So that worked out just swell, for the “home team,” huh?

The Commission on Presidential Debates earlier on Thursday announced that the second presidential debate would be held virtually, in light of the president recently contracting COVID-19.

Trump then rejected the virtual format out of hand during a discussion with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo.

“The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us,” Trump said on “Mornings with Maria.” “I beat [Biden] in the first debate, I beat him easily,” he said, adding that he expected to “beat him in the second debate also.”

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump went on. “I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate.”

“They’re trying to protect Biden,” Trump said. “Everybody is.”

Trump’s director of press communications, Erin Perrine released a statement from campaign manager Bill Stepien, who said Trump would instead hold a rally on the night of the canceled debate.

“President Trump won the first debate despite a terrible and biased moderator in Chris Wallace, and everybody knows it. For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done.

Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration. The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

So a rally it will be.

The Biden campaign then took the pretend high road, no doubt gleeful about avoiding a second debate. Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement:

“Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”

“Magically,” ABC News announced within hours it would host the Biden town hall. Voters will be allowed to ask questions during the event, which will be moderated by former Clintonista and current ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. My, how these things just keep falling into place for “Sleepy Joe,” don’t they?

Let’s talk about this a minute, shall we?

Good idea or bad idea for Trump to reject the virtual debate? If so, why? If not, why not? Particularly given that both candidates would have been subjected to the same rules and restrictions.

One prominent Republican who urged the president not to reject the “unfair” virtual debate was former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, who told Fox News host Harris Faulkner on Thursday:

“Look, I know the president is frustrated that the rules have been changed. I think 70 million people watched the first debate. Even his best rallies get a fraction of that.

“Conventional wisdom I think is the president is behind, at best tied, probably behind. When you are behind, you need to talk to the audience as much as you can.

“So my advice to the president is: ‘Yeah they changed the rules, yes it’s unfair, win anyway.’”

Again, good idea, bad idea? You make the call.

Meanwhile, with the election just 25 days away, emotions are running high on both sides. Check out my earlier article, Fox News Bans Trump Campaign Advisor After He Calls Harris an Unprintable Name on Twitter, for a perfect example.