Trump Quarantine Raises Question About Next Debate

(Image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The debate over the rules for the next presidential debate could become an academic one, or alternately move to a virtual format as have so many formerly face-to-face meetings in the age of COVID-19.

That debate is currently scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, but with the President testing positive for COVID-19, he has gone into quarantine, which is usually a minimum of two weeks.

The Commission on Presidential Debates had signaled it was going to change the rules after the first debate devolved into a chaotic shouting match filled with personal attacks. The White House had suggested it didn't want the rules changed and might not participate if they were.

The President tweeted early Friday morning:

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

According to reports, Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative, so the VP debate scheduled for Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City could still go on as planned.

A debate commission spokesperson was not available for comment at press time on the status of the second debate given the President's diagnosis or whether it could switch to a virtual format.

Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor at C-SPAN Networks, is scheduled to moderate the second debate. 

A C-SPAN spokesperson said they had not yet gotten any official word on the status of the debate. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.