‘Unacceptable’: Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
May 1, 2024Politics
‘Unacceptable’: Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during his hush money trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York City on April 26, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The Trump campaign on Tuesday issued a rebuke of the Commission on Presidential Debates refusal to move up its debate schedule until after millions of Americans have already cast their ballots, calling it “unacceptable” and a “grave disservice” to the electorate.

In a statement, former President Donald Trump’s campaign representatives Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles intensified criticism of the body that sponsors all general election presidential debates. Previously, they had requested debates to be held “much earlier” than the commission’s planned first debate in mid-September.

The Trump campaign repeated its argument that voters deserve to hear from both candidates before they begin casting their votes.

“The Presidential Debate Commission’s schedule does not begin until after millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots. This is unacceptable, and by refusing to move up the debates, they are doing a grave disservice to the American public who deserve to hear from both candidates before voting begins,” the statement read.

The statement comes after the nonprofit commission told Fox News that it would stick with its debate schedule, which was released last November. Four debates are planned: three presidential and one vice presidential.

The first presidential debate takes place on Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos; the second takes place on Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg; and the third takes place on Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The commission said that it “is proceeding with production and broadcast plans at its four debate sites as also announced on November 20, 2023.”

Commission Responds, Outlines Reasoning

Responding to the criticism, the CPD issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying its decision-making process regarding the schedule for the 2024 debates.

The commission noted that the first debate scheduled for Sept. 16 “will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held.”

The selection of debate dates aimed to ensure accessibility for the American public, taking into account factors such as religious and federal holidays, early voting, and state ballot closing dates, according to the CPD.

Regarding the claims that the schedule neglects millions of Americans who will have already cast their ballots by Sept. 16, the CPD clarified that it studied early voting regulations in all states before setting the debate schedule.

For instance, in North Carolina, where the process of mailing absentee ballots begins on Sept. 6 and in-person early voting commences on Oct. 17, the CPD strategically chose Sept. 16 for the first debate.

Similarly, in Pennsylvania, the commission noted that voters can receive, complete, and return ballots at their county boards of elections on Sept. 16, the day of the first debate. Every other state starts early voting later, as of the most recently published information,” the statement added.

Furthermore, the CPD underscored that federal law mandates debate sponsors to establish pre-published, objective criteria for determining debate participation eligibility.

“Nomination by a major party is not sufficient in and of itself. The CPD’s 2024 Candidate Selection Criteria, published in November, 2023, include the requirement to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have an arithmetic chance of winning the Electoral College. Three states do not close their ballots for independent candidates until September 6,” the statement added.

“The CPD has only one mission: to sponsor and produce general election debates that inform and educate the public. Our schedule is designed with that single mission in mind. The colleges and universities preparing to host these debates look forward to being part of an historic 2024 series of forums.”

Trump Campaign Pushes For Earlier Debates

The Trump campaign had pressed the commission to provide debates sooner and with greater frequency, particularly now that both 2024 contenders have secured the necessary delegates to become their respective parties’ presumptive nominees.

In a letter penned to the commission earlier this year, the Trump campaign wrote: “The Commission must move up the timetable of its proposed 2024 debates to 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.”

The Trump campaign’s push for earlier debates comes as President Trump applies pressure on President Joe Biden to engage in head-to-head debates.

The Biden campaign has largely avoided addressing debates directly with President Trump, but last week, President Biden said that he’s “happy” to debate President Trump.

“I am, somewhere, I don’t know when,” President Biden said when asked about debating his Republican opponent during an interview with radio personality Howard Stern. “I’m happy to debate him.”

Following these remarks, President Trump took to Truth Social to press the president for a debate.

Joe Biden Holds Reproductive Freedom Event In Tampa
President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus in Tampa, Fla., on April 23, 2024. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Crooked Joe Biden just announced that he’s willing to debate! Everyone knows he doesn’t really mean it, but in case he does, I say, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, an old expression used by Fighters,” President Trump wrote on Truth Social.

In March, following his State of the Union address, President Biden said that a debate with President Trump “would depend upon his behavior.” The Biden administration has also cited concerns over finding a fair moderator.

Last week, following President Biden’s remarks agreeing to debate, President Trump suggested any location, including the White House, as a venue.

President Trump, according to the campaign’s Tuesday statement, remains committed to debating President Biden “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”

His campaign suggested on Tuesday that he could circumvent the body that’s sponsored all general election presidential debates for decades.

“We are committed to making this happen with or without the Presidential Debate Commission. We extend an invitation to every television network in America that wishes to host a debate, and we once again call on Joe Biden’s team to work with us to set one up as soon as possible. The American people deserve it,” Mr. LaCivita and Ms. Wiles added.

The commission’s schedule includes a vice presidential debate on Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

This report was updated with the Commission on Presidential Debates’ statement.

From The Epoch Times

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