Trump's statement came as his doctor said he was responding well to Covid-19 treatment and should be able to resume "public engagements" from Saturday.

US President Donald Trump speaks at the White House after returning from hospitalization at the Walter Reed Medical Center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment, in Washington, October 5, 2020.
US President Donald Trump speaks at the White House after returning from hospitalization at the Walter Reed Medical Center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment, in Washington, October 5, 2020. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump has said he will not participate in a debate with Democrat Joe Biden under a new format announced by the debates commission in which each candidate would appear at remote locations.

In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said the new virtual format announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates was not acceptable to him.

"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," he said.

Trump was back at work in the Oval Office just six days after testing positive for coronavirus, despite warnings that his return could put others at risk.

After contradictory statements on whether the president was back at work on Tuesday, a senior administration official told AFP news agency that Trump was present on Wednesday with an "extremely limited" staff in his office.

Trump also released a video message saying he's feeling "great" and "like perfect" and called his diagnosis "a blessing in disguise."

Trump should be able to resume "public engagements" from Saturday, the White House physician announced, saying the US leader has responded "extremely well" to Covid-19 treatment.

"Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time," Trump's doctor Sean Conley said in a statement.

The president later said he might try to do a rally on Saturday night, probably in Florida. In an interview with Fox News, Trump also said he will likely take a Covid-19 test on Friday. 

Trump received an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron through a "compassionate use" exemption. The safety and effectiveness of the drug have not yet been proven.

US stimulus deal

Trump also said he now sees "really good" odds of reaching a deal with Democrats in Congress on a new round of coronavirus stimulus to boost the battered US economy, a sharp reversal from his stance earlier this week.

"We're starting to have some very productive talks," he said, referring specifically to proposals for assistance for airlines and $1,200 checks for workers. 

"We're talking about a bigger deal than airlines," he told Bartiromo. "I think we have a really good chance of doing something."

READ MORE: Trump back in Oval Office, says 'I feel great'

Chaotic presidential debate

The Fox Business Network interview was conducted over the phone. Trump himself has not been seen in public since he arrived back at the White House from the hospital on Monday night.

Trump has had no Covid-19 symptoms for the past 24 hours, his doctor, Sean Conley, said in a statement on Wednesday

"He's now been fever-free for more than four days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed, nor received, any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalisation," Conley said.

In the first debate on September 29, 2020, Biden and Trump exchanged heated barbs and attacked each other's competence and credibility in a fiery first presidential debate 35 days ahead of the tensest US election in recent memory.

The two men erupted in contentious exchanges over the coronavirus pandemic, city violence, job losses, and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.

In what was the most chaotic presidential debate in recent years, somehow fitting for what has been an extraordinarily ugly campaign, the two men frequently talked over each other. 

READ MORE: Biden, Trump in fiery first US presidential debate

Trump criticises loyal aides Pompeo, Barr

In the same interview, Trump voiced rare criticism of two of his most steadfast aides, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr.

He demanded that both cabinet members take action concerning the previous administration of Barack Obama.

Trump said Pompeo should find a way to release emails from Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, a longstanding cause for Republican activists who attack her use of a private server while secretary of state.

"They're in the State Department but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually," Trump said.

"I'm not happy about him for that reason," Trump said. "He's running the State Department -- you get them out."

Trump has been urging Barr to prosecute members of the Obama administration for investigating his campaign's relationship with Russia.

"To be honest, Bill Barr is either going to go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he's going to go down as a very sad situation," Trump said.

"I mean, I'll be honest with you, he's got all the information he needs," Trump said of indictments.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies