US president Donald Trump, who is still being treated for COVID-19, said Thursday he will refuse to take part in the presidential debate next week after it was switched to a virtual format.
"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," he told Fox Business News, saying this was "not acceptable to us."
He accused the bipartisan debate commission of trying to "protect" his opponent Joe Biden.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said earlier it was making the change to a virtual format so as to "protect the health and safety of all involved."
It said the debate would have a town hall forum with the candidates in remote locations.
Trump tested positive for COVID last week and spent three days in the hospital before returning to the White House on Monday evening.
Even though he was still contagious he dramatically removed his mask upon arriving at the mansion and posed for photographers.