President Donald J. Trump has told the Presidential Debate Commission to take a hike with its revised plan for next week's long-scheduled second presidential debate.

The PDC announced on Thursday that it had decided to scrub the face-to-face debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, scheduled for next Thursday in Miami, in favor of a virtual debate. The decision was due to concerns over COVID-19.

Trump says he won't participate in a virtual debate and who could blame him? The move appears designed to assist Biden, who has already been helped endlessly by the media, by creating ways for the aging Democrat to cheat and get away with it. Trump says he'd do a rally instead, which would probably benefit him more anyway.

A virtual debate would place Trump and Biden at remote locations, most likely at home, in front of a computer screen. The moderator and those selected to participate in the town hall-style debate would be in Miami. Moderating duties would still be up to former Biden intern Steve Scully.

Serious concerns have arisen about Biden's ability to debate because of what some believe to be his diminished mental capacity. The suggestion has been made by many on Biden's side that he skip the debates altogether. The nominee was able to survive the first debate with Trump without sizable gaffes.

Allowing Biden to debate from his basement, the commission creates an opportunity for the candidate and his handlers to cheat. They could use teleprompters, cue cards, or other forms of trickery to assist Biden. No one would be the wiser.

COVID concerns could be addressed by using a set like the one used for the vice presidential debate or by holding the event outdoors. A unilateral decision to deviate from the agreed-upon debate format at this point is unfair and suspicious.

The debate commission should reverse its decision and go back to the original plan for the debate.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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