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U.S. President Donald Trump Source: Reuters
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  • U.S. President Donald Trump has declared he will not participate in the second presidential debate if it is conducted virtually
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates recently announced that the event would be held virtually, in light of Trump’s ongoing COVID-19 infection
  • Despite his recent discharge from hospital, Trump is still undergoing treatment at the White House
  • Trump’s refusal to attend has left it unclear how and when the upcoming presidential debates will be held
  • This complication comes on the heels of Trump’s recent decision to forestall another COVID-19 relief bill until after the election

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared he will not participate in the second presidential debate if it is conducted virtually.

In light of President Trump’s ongoing COVID-19 infection, The Commission on Presidential Debates recently announced that the event would be held virtually.

Despite the Debate Commission’s attempts to make the presidential debates safer, President Trump commented on Fox Business that he wouldn’t do a virtual debate.

He reportedly took issue with the prospect of sitting behind a computer in a virtual debate, where a moderator could “cut you off whenever they want.”

The first debate between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden took place in the last days of September and was watched by over 73 million people.

Only a day or two after the first debate, President Trump announced via Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. The news of his diagnosis caused markets all over the world to skydive, with the ASX 200 dropping 50 points in just seven minutes.

While he was recently discharged from hospital, Trump is still undergoing treatment at the White House.

Trump’s refusal to attend has left it unclear how and when the impending presidential debates will be held. While his campaign has suggested moving the debates to later dates, Joe Biden’s campaign has rebuffed the proposal, saying “Donald Trump does not make the debate schedule; the Debate Commission does”.

This latest complication comes right on the heels of another controversial decision by the U.S. President. In recent days, Trump stated that he would postpone talks about further COVID-19 relief bills until after the election. 

On Twitter, he indicated that his representatives would stop negotiating on the matter until “after I win.”

His announcement about the postponement of COVID-19 relief caused global markets to plummet. In particular, the Dow Jones fell 250 points in response to the news, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also falling. 

Trump later softened his response by offering up much smaller COVID-19 relief measures, in the form of stimulus checks. Australian and U.S. indexes responded positively to Trump’s latest tweet.

If the presidential debates do go ahead as currently planned, it’s likely that the Trump administration’s COVID-19 relief efforts will be up for discussion.

Global stock exchanges, which have already seen unprecedented instability this year thanks to COVID-19, continue to seesaw on news about the divisive President. 

It seems these exchanges will remain affected by the U.S. election until its conclusion in November.

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