With the second presidential debate slated for next Thursday, Democratic candidate Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that there shouldn’t be any debates until President Donald Trump has recovered from COVID-19.
“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said during a stop in Hagerstown, Maryland. “I think we’re gonna have to follow very strict guidelines.”
“Too many people have been infected and it’s a very serious problem,” he said. “And so I’ll be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic, and what the docs say is the right thing to do–if and when [Trump] shows up for debate.”
The Democrat said he’s “looking forward to being able” to debate Trump, but “I just hope all the protocols are followed.”
Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh asserted in a statement that the President “will be healthy and will be there” at the upcoming debate in Miami, Florida next Thursday.
“There’s no getting out of this one for Biden, and his protectors in the media can’t cover for him,” Murtaugh said.
Trump spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland before leaving the hospital on Monday and claiming to be “feeling great.”
Though the President announced shortly after midnight on Friday that he had tested positive for the virus, the true timeline of his diagnosis is unclear due to his medical team’s contradictory statements on when exactly Trump took a test.
The President’s doctors have pinpointed Thursday as the day he began exhibiting symptoms, but the physicians also indicated that Trump was diagnosed on Wednesday before walking back their timelines.
Given the long incubation period of COVID-19, Trump’s diagnosis raised concerns that he may have put Biden at risk of infection during the first presidential debate last Tuesday night.
The Democratic candidate took three tests for the virus since the debate, according to his campaign, all three of which came up negative. His last test was on Sunday.