Biden, Trump to be in separate locations for next U.S. presidential debate

The second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will take place virtually amid the fallout from Trump’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates made the announcement Thursday morning, a week before the two were scheduled to face off in Miami in a town hall format. The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations,” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami on Oct. 15, the commission said.

Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami, saying, “it will be great!”

Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said, “we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”

Biden had said earlier he and Trump “shouldn’t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID-19 positive.

After a rash of positive tests emanating from the White House and the administration’s unwillingness to reveal specifics of the timeline of Trump’s diagnosis, the Biden camp has wondered if the president was displaying symptoms at the first debate.

There is a third presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville.