Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy urged President Donald Trump not to back out of the second presidential debate, set for Oct. 15, even if it is virtual.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Thursday their decision to host the second debate virtually, allegedly without consulting with either campaign beforehand. Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo following the decision that he would not attend the debate, adding he was “not going to waste” his time. (RELATED: Trump Says Kamala Harris Is A ‘Monster,’ Claims ‘Everything She Says Is A Lie’)
“Look, I know the president is frustrated that the rules have been changed,” Gowdy told Fox News host Harris Faulkner. “I think 70 million people watched the first debate. Even his best rallies get a fraction of that.”
“Conventional wisdom I think is the president is behind, at best tied, probably behind. When you are behind, you need to talk to the audience as much as you can,” Gowdy continued. “So my advice to the president is: ‘Yeah they changed the rules, yes it’s unfair, win anyway.'”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden currently leads Trump by 9.7% according to a national polling average from Real Clear Politics (RCP). However, the president maintains an RCP average approval rating of 44.4%.
Trump was widely criticized for his last debate performance against the former vice president. A post-debate Fox News poll released on Wednesday shows the president trailing Biden by 10 points with less than a month away from Election Day. (RELATED: 90 Minutes Of Dodging Questions Punctuated By A Surprise Fly-By Guest — What You Missed From The Vice Presidential Debate)
The Trump campaign reportedly plans to host a rally on Oct. 15 instead. Campaign Manager Bill Stepien said, “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”