Debate commission denies Trump campaign’s request for 4th debate
On Thursday, the Commission on Presidential Debates responded to a letter from Trump campaign representative Rudy Giuliani, denying the campaign’s request for a fourth debate in early September. The campaign made the request after learning that many voters will have already cast their ballots prior to the first scheduled debate.
Giuliani argued that an earlier debate should be scheduled to give those voters the chance to hear from the two candidates.
The commission responded by saying that although voters may receive ballots before the debate, it’s unlikely many will return them right away.
“There is a difference between ballots having been issued by a state and those ballots having been cast by voters, who are under no compulsion to return their ballots before the debates,” the commission said. “In 2016, when the debate schedule was similar, only .0069% of the electorate had voted at the time of the first debate. While more people will likely vote by mail in 2020, the debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity.”
The commission went on to say that it would reconsider adding a fourth debate if Democratic nominee Joe Biden joined the Trump campaign in requesting one.
Giuliani wrote to the commission that their process was an outdated dinosaur and not reflective of voting realities in 2020.
“For a nation already deprived of a traditional campaign schedule because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it makes no sense to also deprive so many Americans of the opportunity to see and hear the two competing visions for our country’s future before millions of votes have been cast,” Giuliani said.
President Trump was not happy with the commission’s response and said he and Biden owe it to the American people to debate earlier.
“How can voters be sending in Ballots starting, in some cases, one month before the First Presidential Debate. Move the First Debate up. A debate, to me, is a Public Service. Joe Biden and I owe it to the American People,” Trump tweeted.
The push for more and earlier debates is a result of many states increasing their vote-by-mail opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keeping debate participants and possible audience members safe is also a big concern for the commission who have retained the Cleveland Clinic to advise on safety.
“We are working closely with the Clinic on all aspects of debate planning potentially affected by the pandemic,” the commission said. “The Commission will be ready for any contingency that is necessary as a result of the pandemic.”
Scroll down to comment!