Trump Campaign Requests Fourth Presidential Debate, Earlier Timeline

August 6, 2020 by Dan McCue
President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s campaign requested a fourth presidential debate against former Vice President Joe Biden be added in early September, arguing that a number of states will already have begun sending mail-in ballots to voters before the first scheduled debate.

Currently, the two presidential candidates are scheduled to debate on Sept. 29, Oct. 15. and Oct 22, with Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s eventual pick for vice president to debate once, on Oct. 7.

But in a letter sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Wednesday, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, told the nonpartisan commission its current approach to scheduling debates “is an outdated dinosaur and not reflective of the voting realities of 2020.”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 wrote.

The former New York City mayor then asks the commission to schedule a fourth debate in early September, or, in the alternative, move up the third and final debate to an earlier date.

Giuliani suggests a date before Sept. 4, which is when North Carolina begins sending out absentee ballots.

After that, early voting will begin in the battleground states of Georgia on Sept. 15, Florida on Sept. 24, and Arizona the first week of October.

“By the time of the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as many as eight million Americans in 16 states will have already started voting,” Giuliani wrote.

Giuliani submitted a list of two dozen suggested debate moderators, including “Today” show co-anchor Hoda Kotb, CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, David Muir, anchor of ABC World News Tonight, and Norah O’Donnell, anchor of the CBS Evening News.

He also included several names associated with conservative and Christian talk radio, as well as Fox News personalities Bret Baier, Maria Bartiromo, Shannon Bream, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Harris Faulkner.

Last year, Trump suggested he would not participate in any of the debates sanctioned by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has been holding them for four decades.

Then earlier this year, Trump suggested adding a series of debates, beginning them in late summer.

“We are not going to ride the roller coaster of the ever-changing Trump campaign position on debates, nor are we going to be distracted by his demands,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement on the proposal.

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