Speaking ahead of the US elections, the American President said did not want to “waste his time” in a virtual debate with Joe Biden. His words came moments after the commission that oversees the debates said the event would be conducted from remote locations in the wake of his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Mr Trump said the new virtual format announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates was not acceptable to him.
The US President’s campaign said Mr Trump would hold a rally instead, with the leader insisting he was well enough to attend.
He told Fox News Business during a phone call: “No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not acceptable to us.”
“That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate it’s ridiculous.
“And then they cut you off whenever you want.”
Trump’s campaign had vowed that the Republican would participate in the October 15 debate, despite concerns that he could still be infectious.
But after the commission that oversees the second presidential debate next week would be a virtual affair, Mr Trump appears to have changed his mind.
Mr Trump’s revelation throws into doubt the second presidential debate between the US leader and his Democratic rival initially scheduled for October 15.
The debate would have remained a town hall-style conversation with Mr Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Mr Biden appearing from remote locations, while voters and the moderator would have asked them questions from the original debate site in Miami.
The Biden campaign had welcomed the move.
Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said: “Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression. ”
Mr Trump, who revealed a week ago that he had tested positive for coronavirus, remains sidelined from the campaign trail.
Speaking during his first interview since his COVID-19 diagnosis, Mr Trump said: “I’m feeling good. Really good. Perfect. I’m ready to go.”
He also revealed Prime Minister Boris Johnson had wished him well in his recovery from the invisible killer disease.
The first Trump-Biden debate was chaotic, with Trump repeatedly talking over his rival and the moderator, leading some to call for the moderator to have the option of muting participants’ microphones in future matchups. It was not immediately clear how the virtual format would work.
With less than four weeks to go until the November election – and more than 5 million votes already cast – the vice presidential debate was unlikely to change many minds in a contest dominated by voter reactions to Trump and Biden.
Nevada and Arizona, where the candidates will travel on Thursday, are critical swing states in the November 3 election.
Mr Biden has led Mr Trump consistently in national polls, but polls show a tighter race in many of the states that will decide the election.