White House pushes to hold next week’s canceled debate

A White House spokesman on Sunday called for a canceled in-person debate between President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic poll shows neck-and-neck race brewing in Florida House district Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November Bringing Black men back home MORE to be rescheduled after the president’s physician said Saturday that Trump was no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.

White House deputy communications director Brian Morgenstern said Sunday that a previously-planned debate on Oct. 15 should take place, CNN reported.  

“The President is ready to debate and his doctors have cleared him for participating in public engagements,” Morgenstern told reporters at the White House Sunday. “They’ve said he’s no longer a risk for transmission so it would be nice if the commission would get the debate back on the schedule.”

That follows a memo released by the Trump administration a day earlier in which White House physician Sean Conley said that he was “happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday canceled Thursday’s debate after a day of back-and-forth between the campaigns over the event’s format. 

The commission on Thursday morning announced it was shifting the debate from an in-person town hall-style format to a virtual debate. Trump refused the virtual format and proposed delaying both remaining debates by a week, which the Biden campaign shot down.

In the end, Trump scheduled a rally for Oct. 15 while Biden said he would hold his own town hall. The commission said in its statement Friday that, “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”

Biden has said that he will follow the advice of medical experts as to whether he will appear in public with Trump again following the latter’s diagnosis, but stated that he would not attend a debate if the president still tested positive for the virus.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said Tuesday.

“I think we were gonna have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem, so I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do,” he added.

The president declared himself COVID-free in a tweet Sunday morning that was labeled as misleading by Twitter due to his claim that he was now “immune” from the virus, 

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Trump to resume campaigning; second debate canceled

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will resume in-person campaigning on Saturday after being sidelined by a case of COVID-19, but a debate next week against his presidential election opponent Joe Biden was canceled because Trump refused to participate.

Trump will address a crowd of supporters on Saturday from a White House balcony on a “law and order” theme, an administration official said on Friday. A source familiar with the situation said the crowd could be in the hundreds, and all were expected to wear masks.

Then the Republican president will travel on Monday to central Florida, a state crucial to his hopes of winning a second term in the Nov. 3 election.

He will stage his first campaign rally since his coronavirus diagnosis at an airport in the town of Sanford. The campaign did not disclose if it would be held in a hangar with doors open, as it has in the past, or entirely outside.

As the president prepared to return to the trail, the body that oversees presidential debates said the match-up between Trump and Biden, the Democratic candidate, scheduled for Oct. 15 had been formally canceled.

Trump refused to participate in what was supposed to be the second of three debates with Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates switched it to a virtual contest in the wake of the president’s illness.

The final debate on Oct. 22 is still set to take place.

Questions remain about whether Trump, who announced on Oct. 2 he had the virus and spent three nights in a military hospital, is still contagious. Trump told Fox News he was likely to be tested for the virus on Friday.

The illness has kept him from holding public rallies and attending fundraisers at a critical juncture of the campaign. He trails Biden in opinion polls with just weeks to go before the election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump poses atop the Truman Balcony of the White House after taking off his protective face mask as he returns to the White House after being hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment, in Washington, U.S. October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

Attendees at the Florida rally will be given a temperature check, masks that they will be encouraged to wear and access to hand sanitizer, the campaign said.

Biden sharply criticized Trump’s decision to resume campaigning. “Good luck. I wouldn’t show up unless you have a mask and can distance,” he told reporters in Paradise, Nevada.

Trump and his administration have faced criticism for their handling of the pandemic, as well as for a lax approach to mask-wearing and social distancing in the White House and – in recent days – confusing messages about how ill the president has been.

At least 11 people who attended a White House event on Sept. 26 where Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have since tested positive.

Dr. Anthony Fauci,

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Trump struggles to project a sense of normalcy after canceled debate

“I want you to get the same care that I got,” Trump said in a video message to senior citizens released Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “You’re going to get the same medicine — you’re going to get it free, no charge.”

But the president’s attempts to depict a back-to-normal presidency were punctured when the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning that next week’s scheduled town hall meeting with Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would take place virtually rather than in person.

The commission’s move came amid uncertainty over Trump’s infectiousness, given his recent diagnosis and hospitalization with the deadly virus. Trump immediately lashed out, telling Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that he would not participate in a “ridiculous” virtual debate.

The commission’s decision seemed to spark a frenzy of aggressive acrimony from Trump, and claims that were notable even by the president’s standards.

During his hourlong interview with Bartiromo, Trump twice called Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris a “monster,” made baseless spying accusations against his predecessor and attacked several members of his own Cabinet.

He claimed that federal law enforcement was “watching” the Nevada governor and an unidentified New Mexico official for potential voter fraud as he continued to assail voting by mail as inherently corrupt.

He also continued to downplay the pandemic, describing that the virus that has killed more than 212,000 Americans as little more than an inconvenience.

“And, remember this, when you catch it, you get better. And then you’re immune, you know?” Trump said, adding that he believed he could have recovered from his sickness without the cocktail of multiple drugs he received.

By the end of Trump’s tour-de-force, Vice President Pence’s performance at his debate the night before had become little more than an afterthought and, for many Republicans, a fleeting memory of normalcy in a presidential campaign.

Biden, meanwhile, continued to campaign across the country, traveling to Phoenix after receiving another negative test for the virus that has kept Trump sidelined for a week.

Though he was just released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, Trump is eager to do campaign events, according to four advisers, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The president would like to be back on the road starting Monday, advisers said.

But even as he has asserted that he’s “clean” and does not believe he is contagious, his doctors have offered only limited information about his condition. It remains unclear when the president last tested negative for the virus — a question White House officials dodged for a fifth consecutive day Thursday. White House doctors have also declined to release information about the viral load detected within the president.

White House physician Sean Conley, who has released only brief memos describing Trump’s status since Monday, said earlier this week that he would like to monitor the president through this coming weekend to ensure his health does not relapse. On Thursday, Conley

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Chinese Lantern Festival at Daniel Stowe Garden canceled

A festival that drew hundreds of thousands of visitors on its first stop in the Charlotte region will not have an encore this year.

The popular Chinese Lantern Festival, scheduled to begin Oct. 15 in Belmont, has been canceled, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden said Thursday in a statement.

Hanart Culture’s festival was featured at the garden in fall 2017 and attracted more than 100,000 visitors in eight weeks, according to the statement. More than 800 hand-crafted Chinese lanterns were set up on 12-plus acres in the formal gardens and public spaces, the Observer previously reported.

The festival had previously been rescheduled from August to October because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The show’s producer is based in the U.S. but depends on Chinese artists. U.S. embassies and consulate offices are closed or operating on a limited basis throughout Asia, so Hanart Culture was unable to secure visas because of “ever-changing policies,” a trickle effect of COVID-19, according to the garden.

Lanterns shaped as tigers were part of the Chinese Lantern Festival at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont in 2017. The festival has been canceled for 2020. John D. Simmons Observer file photo

“We had become confident in our ability to implement an incredible experience in a safe and healthy manner, but rescheduling at this time isn’t practical,” said Jim Hoffman, the garden’s interim executive director.

Ticket holders can receive a refund or receive a deal on tickets to the annual Holidays at the Garden beginning in late November. More details about this year’s event will be released soon.

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Catherine Muccigrosso is the retail business reporter for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she has worked for multiple newspapers and McClatchy for more than a decade.

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Connecticut Flower & Garden Show canceled due to coronavirus pandemic

The 40th annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, scheduled from Feb. 25 to 28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, has been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Wednesday.

“I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors – many of them small family businesses, like mine – to jeopardize their health and financial well-being,” Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, the show’s producer, said in a news release.

Gonsalves pointed out that the show uses all of the space in the center’s exhibition hall and seminar rooms. In the past, the show has attracted 40,000 people, and the exhibitors depend on that revenue.

“Employing socially distanced booths, one-way aisles and limiting the number of people inside at any one time would not only be difficult, but could affect the bottom line of hundreds of quality exhibitors,” she wrote.

The next Connecticut Flower & Garden Show is scheduled for Feb. 24 to 27, 2022.

North East Expos also produces the Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun and the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at Connecticut Convention Center. No decision has been made regarding those 2021 shows.

Susan Dunne can be reached at [email protected]


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CT Flower & Garden Show 2021 in Hartford canceled

The longtime producer of the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show today announced the cancelation of its February 2021 event, in response to uncertainty about the impact of the COVID-19 on events during the next five months.

Considered one of New England’s top flower shows, the 40th annual edition was scheduled to take place from Thursday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“This has been a very difficult decision but we believe that, as of now, we would be unable to produce a successful Connecticut Flower & Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center this February,” Kristie Gonsalves, President of North East Expos, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Consumer Show Producers, said in a news release. “I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors — many of them small family businesses, like mine — to jeopardize their health and financial well-being just to continue with a tradition … even this beautiful, joyful one.

“Our show utilizes every inch of space in the convention center’s Exhibition Hall as well as several seminar rooms, and employing socially distanced booths, one-way aisles, and limiting the number of people inside at any one time would not only be difficult, but could affect the bottom line of hundreds of quality exhibitors, landscapers and vendors, some of whom travel here from across the country,” Gonsalves said. “They count on our show to generate over 40,000 eager attendees so they can display, promote and sell their services and products. For them, substantially reduced foot traffic would be extremely detrimental.

“An expansive live garden show like this involves months and months of advance production, including the confirmations of booth participants and expert speakers, with landscapers and members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut preparing eight to nine months in advance to create impressive displays and exhibits,” Gonsalves

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