If President Trump really does boycott next week’s presidential debate, he will be giving up a chance to speak in front of 60 to 70 million people.
So, given the president’s television fixation and his intense focus on ratings, there are 60 to 70 million reasons to believe that he will backtrack from his current position.
Trump said on Thursday morning, in his first interview since his hospitalization for a coronavirus infection, that “I am not going to do a virtual debate.”
Specifically, he objected to the Commission on Presidential Debates’ decision to turn the scheduled October 15 debate into a remote broadcast, with Trump and Joe Biden participating from separate studios.
Biden’s campaign immediately said he agreed to the new structure, but the Trump campaign said they’ll “do a rally instead.”
If Trump’s camp follows through and holds a rally on October 15, it will likely only be televised by a couple of pro-Trump TV channels. He will essentially only be speaking to his base.
The formal debates, on the other hand, are shown by all the major broadcasters and cable channels in America, along with countless websites.
Video: Biden: We can’t go back. We can do so much better (CNN)
The first debate between Trump and Biden was watched by more than 73 million viewers last week.
The second debate of the campaign cycle is usually somewhat lower rated than the first, but in 2016 more than 66 million people watched the second debate