The Commission on Presidential Debates reportedly has changed its planned spacing format for next week’s vice presidential debate following “health and safety” objections from the Biden campaign.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign took issue with the plan to place Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris of California 7 feet apart next week in Utah, according to Politico.
Pence and Harris, Biden’s running mate, will now reportedly be separated by a distance of 12 feet.
Other outlets, including CNN and Bloomberg, also confirmed the change.
Politico reported the change was made “after the Biden campaign raised health and safety objections to the original spacing between the two candidates because of Covid concerns.”
The candidates will also be seated, “which was the preference of the Trump campaign” but not the Biden campaign, which wanted the rules to change to let them stand, according to Politico.
The outlet reported the health concerns brought up by the Biden campaign were made prior to the news that President Donald Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.
But the commission eventually decided Friday to put an additional 5 feet between the candidate’s chairs “in light of Trump‘s diagnosis,” Politico said.
A source told the outlet that the original 7-foot distance was a “very serious concern” for the Biden campaign.
The Trump campaign reportedly supported the decision to separate Pence and Harris, as did the debate commission.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told Politico the campaign had no issue on finding a compromise with regard to the health and safety concerns raised by the Biden campaign.
“We are open to more space between the candidates, which we will be happy to negotiate,” he said.
During Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, both Trump and Biden stood for the entirety of the debate.
Trump tested positive for the coronavirus two days later, although it is unclear where he contracted the illness.
Biden was tested on Friday, but the test came back negative.
The vice presidential debate will be held Wednesday at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
The next presidential debate between Trump and Biden, barring any changes, is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.
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