Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he and Donald Trump ‘shouldn’t have a debate’ as long as the president remains positive for coronavirus.
Biden said Tuesday that he’s ‘looking forward to being able to debate him’ but said ‘we’re going to have to follow very strict guidelines’.
Trump returned to the White House on Monday after three days of treatment for COVID-19 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Biden told reporters while boarding his plane back to Delaware in Hagerstown, Maryland: ‘I think if he still has COVID, then we shouldn’t have a debate.’
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he and Donald Trump ‘shouldn’t have a debate’ as long as the president remains positive for coronavirus
Trump returned to the White House on Monday after three days of treatment for COVID-19 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
The next debate is scheduled for October 15, with a third debate due to take place on October 22.
Biden’s campaign says he tested negative for COVID-19 earlier on Tuesday. On Monday, Biden said he was still open to debating Trump next week.
‘If the scientists say that it’s safe, the distances are safe, then I think that’s fine,’ Biden told reporters. ‘I’ll do whatever the experts say is appropriate to do.’
The president first tested positive for the coronavirus on October 1 after his aide Hope Hicks received a positive result.
At 1am Friday, the White House announced the president and first lady had tested positive for the virus.
There is a chance that the president could be testing negative by October 15. While speaking to reporters, Biden wouldn’t comment on the president’s health.
‘I am reluctant to comment on anything on the president’s health – what he’s doing and not doing,’ the former vice president said.
‘I’ll leave that to the docs to talk about it, but I’m not going to comment on any of his conduct or his health, I don’t know enough to know.’
Then, when asked if he’d prefer the next debate to be virtual or if plexiglass should be used to separate the candidates, Biden said organizers should ‘listen to the science’.
‘I’m not an expert on it, but I think we should be very cautious, as I’ve thought all along and I’m going to continue listening to the scientists,’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Presidential Debates will allow Vice President Mike Pence to participate in Wednesday night’s presidential debate without plexiglass separating him from Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
CNN reported the update Tuesday evening after Pence’s team publicly refused the move.
Vice President Mike Pence (right) who arrived with his wife Karen Pence (left) in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, is set to debate Democrat Kamala Harris Wednesday night, but his team does not want him surrounded by plexiglass barriers
Harris spokesperson Sabrina Singh told DailyMail.com that the Democratic vice presidential nominee ‘will be at the debate, respecting the protections that the Cleveland Clinic has put in place to promote safety for all concerned’
Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus is seen on Tuesday during preparations ahead of tomorrow’s vice presidential debate, in Salt Lake City, Utah
Throughout the day, both Pence’s doctor and Dr Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, sent out letters explaining that the vice president hadn’t had enough contact with Trump to quarantine.
Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short told The Washington Post that plexiglass barriers aren’t necessary, as the candidates will already be 12 feet away from one another.
‘If she wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable,’ Short told the newspaper. ‘It’s not needed.’
Earlier Tuesday, the plexiglass matter had seemed settled, until Short’s comment were made public.
A spokeswoman for the Debate Commission did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Harris spokesperson Sabrina Singh told DailyMail.com that the Democratic vice presidential nominee ‘will be at the debate, respecting the protections that the Cleveland Clinic has put in place to promote safety for all concerned.’
‘If the Trump administration’s war on masks has now become a war on safety shields, that tells you everything you need to know about why their COVID response is a failure,’ Singh also offered.
Pence traveled to Salt Lake City Monday in advance of his doctor releasing a statement explaining why the vice president was cleared to go after appearing at events where officials have since tested positive – including the September 26 Rose Garden ceremony where Trump announced his selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.
He also appeared at an event Sunday for Gold Star families where at least one individual tested positive.
‘Vice President Mike Pence is encouraged to go about his normal activities and does not need to quarantine,’ Pence’s physician, Dr Jesse Schonau, said.
That statement was followed up later Tuesday by a memo signed by Redfield who explained that a ‘close contact’ is ‘any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes from 2 days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated as defined by CDC guidance’.
Pence is being tested using both antigen tests and the more accurate PCR tests, his doctor also said.
Plexiglass has been used at several other debates during the COVID era thus far.