As the news broke early this morning that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, political observers and voters are left wondering how the final 30 days of election 2020 will turn out.
According to Dr. Fauci and the CDC’s own guidelines, President Trump could theoretically be ready to participate in the second presidential debate that is scheduled for October 15th in Miami, Florida. However, it is unclear how the Democrats and Biden campaign will react in the coming days and many believe that they will use Trump’s diagnosis as an excuse to cancel the in-person townhall event, saving Biden the embarrassment of another poor debate performance and from having to interact with potentially hostile voters.
That being said, debate moderator Steve Scully is a former Biden intern and staffer for the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. He has written editorials slamming President Trump and professed his commitment to stopping him from securing a second-term. This kind of climate is even better for the Biden campaign than the constant assists they received from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace during the first debate and might be too tempting for them to scrub the debate.
And if you are on Team Trump, there are also inherit benefits and shortfalls to threatening to pull out of the debate. President Trump’s campaign could use talk of cancelling or rescheduling the debate to negotiate certain terms that would seek to keep Scully’s bias in check and even demand an entirely new moderator. If they wanted to go the route of officially pulling out of the debate, they could cite Scully’s overwhelming history of anti-Trump bias. This route for Team Trump would deprive their candidate the chance of shellacking Biden on national television and showcasing President Trump’s ability to take direct questions from voters.
With President Trump’s in-person rallies on ice for at least 10 days, the second townhall style debate could his best bet at regaining momentum in the final weeks before he resumes his rallies, often attended by tens of thousands of ardent supporters.
The Miami Herald has said that the Adrienne Arscht Performing Arts Center, which is set to host the debate, has not received a request from the Presidential Commission on Debates or either campaign to reschedule or cancel the debate, also stating that their schedule is very light and could accommodate adjustments if need be.
We will keep you updated on the fate of the second presidential debate as more information becomes available.