This combination of Sept. 29, 2020, photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the…
FILE - President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden are seen during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio, in this combination of Sept. 29, 2020, photos.

President Donald Trump says he will not participate in the presidential debate originally scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, allowing Democratic nominee Joe Biden to take part in an ABC News town hall event in Philadelphia that evening.

Trump rejected the change to a virtual format announced Thursday morning by the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates, which explained that the format was necessary because of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

Asked about the virtual format on Fox Business, Trump said, “I'm not going to waste my time in a virtual debate. That's not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate is ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”

Virtual debate OK with Biden

The Biden campaign had said the former vice president would be willing to participate in a virtual debate.

In a statement, the Biden campaign said, “we hope the Debate Commission will move the Biden-Trump Town Hall to October 22 so that the president is not able to evade accountability.”

The Trump campaign issued a statement agreeing that the next debate should take place Oct. 22, with the third and final debate on Oct. 29. The Biden campaign has rejected having a debate so late in the campaign.

Confined to White House

Trump has been recovering from COVID-19 and has been confined to the White House since returning from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday.

The president’s physician, Dr. Scott Conley, issued a statement Thursday evening saying the president had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19 and responded well. He shows no signs of the illness progressing, and Conley anticipates Trump’s safe return to public events on Saturday.

Earlier, Alyssa Farah, communications director at the White House, was asked when the president last tested negative for the coronavirus.

"I can't reveal that at this time. Doctors would like to keep it private," she said.

'I think I'm better ... '

Meanwhile, Trump said he is doing well and is ready to hold campaign rallies.

“I think I’m better to the point where I’d love to do a rally tonight,” he said.

Trump’s doctors have not said if he is ready to hold rallies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be isolated for at least 10 days. Trump’s positive COVID-19 test was revealed late last week.

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.