WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s campaign is calling for more presidential debates to be held between him and President Joe Biden, and for the proposed face-offs to begin as early as possible to ensure that more Americans “have a full chance” to see the candidates in action before they cast their ballot. 

“While the Commission on Presidential Debates has already announced three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate to occur later this year, we are in favor of these debates beginning much earlier,” Trump’s co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said in a letter Thursday.

By the time of the first potential debate, on Sept. 16, more than 1 million Americans will likely have already voted, Wiles and LaCivita said. By the third debate, on Oct. 9, the campaign projected that the number would have surged to approximately 8.7 million. A second debate is penciled in for Oct. 1. 

Trump’s advisers said that, with more Americans voting early, the proposed calendar “simply comes too late.” 

Moving up the commission’s timetable will “ensure more Americans have a full chance to see the candidates before they start voting, and we would argue for adding more debates in addition to those on the currently proposed schedule,” Wiles and LaCivita added. 

They said the country “deserves” as many as seven presidential debates, citing the record number that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held in their 1858 battle for a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois. 

Trump, who declined to participate in any of the Republican primary debates, has said he is willing to go head-to-head with Biden “anytime, anyplace and anywhere,” starting “now.” 

The letter comes amid speculation over whether the candidates will take part in a traditional debate at all. Biden has not yet publicly committed to debating Trump in the general election, saying in March that it “depends on his behavior.”

Trump backed out of an October 2020 debate with Biden after the commission changed it from an in-person debate to a virtual one (Trump had Covid at the time). It was not rescheduled. The Republican National Committee then voted in 2022 to withdraw from commission-sanctioned debates, requiring candidates to pledge not to participate in them.

Trump’s campaign attacked the nonpartisan commission, which was founded by former RNC Chair Frank Fahrenkopf and former Democratic National Committee Chair Paul Kirk, for adding “additional structure” to the debates. The campaign accused the commission of “cutting off” Trump’s microphone while on stage and “selecting a demonstrably anti-Trump moderator.” 

“Americans were robbed of a true and robust debate in 2020,” said Wiles and LaCivita.

Trump has called for speeding up the start of the debate cycle against Biden before, prompting the president to push back.

“If I were him, I’d want him to debate me, too,” Biden recently quipped to reporters in Nevada. “He’s got nothing else to do.” 

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *