President Trump wants to debate Joe Biden sooner than September 29, and has requested an additional debate to bring the total to four.
Speaking with Fox News Wednesday morning, the president cited the fact that mail-in ballots and early voting will mean votes are cast before the first debate is held.
“The one problem I have, the debate’s very late. It’s at the end of September and a lot of ballots will already be cast by that time,” Trump told “Fox & Friends,” adding “Why are they putting the first debate so late? The first debate should be before the first – at least before the first ballots go out. And they have it a month later, almost a month later. It’s ridiculous.”
In the swing state of Michigan, for example, absentee ballots can be cast 45 days before the election. In Virginia, in-person early voting starts that early. And in Minnesota, in-person early voting starts on Sept. 18.
The hosts of the morning program then asked the president whether he would like more debates against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. He replied that what he cares more about is that at least one be made earlier.
“I wouldn’t mind more,” Trump said, “what’s more important to me is the first debate be moved up so that when people are putting in their first ballot they’re gonna know.” –Fox News
Trump’s comments come amid a recent push by Democrats to keep Biden in his basement and avoid debating Trump altogether.
According to Axios, President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has officially requested the additional, earlier debate for the first week in September in a Wednesday letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
What they’re saying: “By the time of the first presidential debate on September 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in 16 states will have already started voting,” Giuliani writes in the letter, calling the current timetable “an outdated dinosaur.”
What to watch: The letter also includes a list of suggested moderators — including Bret Baier and Hugh Hewitt — and asks the commission to solidify backup plans for “a simple studio format with no audience” for presidential and vice presidential debates in case of further coronavirus complications.
- Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, told Axios that with the announcement that Biden will no longer travel to Milwaukee for the Democratic National Convention, “We are convinced he’ll try to weasel out of debates.”
- The Commission on Presidential Debates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has provided a list of moderators they recommend for the debate, which includes Bret Baier, Maria Bartiromo, Saagar Enjeti and Rick Santelli.
**NEW: The Trump campaign has sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates requesting a 4th & earlier debate against Joe Biden.
They’ve also sent a list of suggested debate moderators… pic.twitter.com/vRpCO6bfNd
— Patrick Hussion (@PatrickHussion) August 5, 2020