Tonight was supposed to be the third and final presidential debate — but instead, it’s the second and final one.
Last year, before we even knew who would be the Democratic presidential nominee, the Commission on Presidential Debates scheduled three debates for Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct 22.
But last week, the commission canceled the Oct. 22 debate between President Trump and Joe Biden after the President declined to do a virtual debate despite concerns over his Covid-19 diagnosis, organizers said.
Instead of meeting on the same debate stage and directly taking on each other, Biden and Trump held individual, competing town halls.
How the last week’s debate fell apart: Ahead of the scheduled second debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it was shifting to a virtual debate due to concerns about coronavirus, particularly after Trump’s positive diagnosis with the virus.
Shortly after, the President announced he would not participate in a virtual debate. The Trump campaign then proposed delaying the the town hall debate a week, and pushing the third and final debate a week as well. Biden’s campaign rejected that proposal, and in the meantime, Biden booked a town hall on ABC.
After Trump released letters from his doctor clearing him to resume public activity, his campaign pushed for the in-person debate to be reinstated.
The commission officially canceled the debate just days before it was set to be held. NBC on then announced it would hold a town hall with Trump at the same time as Biden’s ABC event.