NBC Is Giving Donald Trump, Who Refused to Debate Joe Biden This Week, a TV Special Instead – By Ben Mathis-Lilley (Slate) / Oct 14 2020
NBC’s motto or catchphrase or whatever is “The More You Know.” But ironically, certain people at the network seem like they never learn anything!
After Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the town hall event that he and Joe Biden were scheduled to participate in on Thursday (i.e., Oct. 15) would be held virtually. Trump may have been spreading the virus at the first presidential debate, held on Sept. 29 in Cleveland; two days earlier, he had attended the now-infamous “superspreader” White House event for Amy Coney Barrett, and he has still not disclosed whether he took a coronavirus test at any point between the Barrett event and the debate despite the debate’s requirement, unfortunately enforced only by the “honor system,” that participants make sure they tested negative. A virtual town hall seemed like the appropriate way to strike a balance between the public’s interest in seeing presidential candidates answer questions and the public’s interest in not being infected with a potentially fatal virus by one of those candidates.
Trump, however, said he would not participate in a virtual debate; his campaign’s statement on the matter explained that this was because Biden would be able to cheat during such an event by “relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker.” (The Facebook conspiracy idea that Biden is told via teleprompter how to answer questions posed at live events is one of the Trump campaign’s core arguments against his candidacy, which may help explain why Trump is trailing him by more than 10 points in national polls.)