Donald Trump has withdrawn from the second Presidential debate with Joe Biden, after the non-partisan Commission for Presidential Debates announced it would move to an online format for the ‘health and safety of all involved’ due to the President and others at the White House recently testing positive for Covid-19.
The President was admitted to hospital on 2 October with symptoms including congestion and fever.
Trump, who has since been released from hospital to continue recuperating at the White House, denounced the move through a statement from his campaign manager, Bill Stepien – who himself tested positive just days after Trump.
“President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration.” He stated.
“We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead’.
Scheduled for 15 October, Trump would have finished his 10- day period of self-isolation as recommended by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), with the President’s latest medical report stating that they “Fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements” as of 10 October.
The President’s swift recovery has been attributed by some to his experimental usage of remdesivir and dexamethasone, both drugs which are only permitted for ‘emergency use authorisation’, with the latter only intended for patients who require ventilation.
This has led to questions surrounding the severity of the President’s condition, exacerbated by the difference in opinions given by the President’s physician, Dr Sean Conley, and the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Nevertheless, the resumption of campaigning by President Trump comes at a critical moment, as early voting has already begun in several states.
Nationally, the President is trailing Joe Biden by 9 points on average and the former Vice President’s lead in several swing states is beyond the margin of error.
Despite his outreach efforts in the closing weeks of the campaign, Biden has sought to make his candidacy a “non-issue” in this election, largely by making it a referendum on Donald Trump, whose leadership polling has averaged 40 per cent throughout his presidency.
Biden’s campaign has also been boosted by a fundraising advantage in the last quarter over Trump.
In recent days, Trump scaled back his advertising in swing states such as Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, whilst Biden has sought to broaden his electoral map by targeting the historically Republican leaning Georgia and Texas, the latter of which last went blue in 1976.
This fundraising has stemmed partially from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with small-donor political action committee (PAC) ActBlue reportedly receiving $1billion in small, individual donations in the week after her death.
Meanwhile, with several GOP Senators self-isolating, the prospect of approving the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is looking increasingly slim before election day, with hearings yet to begin with less than a month to polling day.
This could lead a constitutional battle over who may be appointed if the Democrats regain control of the Senate.
Trump is set to resume campaigning with a virtual rally over the weekend.
Image: via Tasnimnews.com