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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding his campaign plane at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020., en route to Arizona. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

This story was updated Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, at 8:45 p.m. with more information.

Next week's debate between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump has officially been canceled after Trump refused to accept the organizer's decision to keep the event virtual out of COVID-19 concerns, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public information, told The New York Daily News that the Commission on Presidential Debates made the decision late Friday after Trump wouldn't budge on his insistence that the Oct. 15 event be held in-person.

Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1 and has suffered severe symptoms, meaning he could be contagious for up to 20 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, called Trump's stubbornness on the matter "shameful" and noted that the Oct. 15 debate was the only one where voters would be able to directly ask the candidates questions in a town hall format.

"But it's no surprise," Bates said. "Everyone knows that Donald Trump likes to bully reporters, but obviously he doesn't have the guts to answer for his record to voters at the same time as Vice President Biden."

The Trump campaign had asked the commission to push back the debate schedule so that the town hall-style event fell on Oct. 22, followed by the third and final debate on Oct. 29.

The commission did not immediately return a request for comment, but the cancellation of the Oct. 15 event suggests there will only be two presidential debates this year, with the last one falling on Oct. 22.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh claimed the commission's cancellation shows it is "protecting Biden and preventing voters from hearing from the two candidates for president."

Murtaugh also floated the idea of Trump and Biden debating without the commission's involvement.

"There's nothing that says that President Trump and Joe Biden can't debate together without the overlords at the commission having a say in the matter," Murtaugh said. "We would be glad to debate one-on-one without the commission's interference."

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