President Trump says he won’t participate in next debate if it’s held virtually

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, who has the coronavirus, says he will not participate in next week’s presidential debate if it’s held virtually.

Trump says in a Fox Business interview that that arrangement is “not acceptable to us,” while also accusing moderators of trying to protect his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The president’s campaign manager later told reporters Trump will plan on holding a rally on Thursday night instead.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates had announced moments earlier that the second debate between Trump and Biden will take place virtually because of the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

The commission cited a need “to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate” and said the candidates would “participate from separate remote locations” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami.

Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami.