Aug 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Commission rejects Trump campaign request for 4th debate

President Trump in a suit
President Trump in Cleveland, Ohio on August 6. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday denied the Trump campaign's request to add a fourth debate in the first week of September or move up one of the existing debates in order to get ahead of an expected surge in early voting.

The bottom line: Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are set to debate on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Oct. 15 in Miami, and Oct. 22 in Nashville. "If the candidates were to agree that they wished to add to that schedule, the Commission would consider that request," the organization wrote in a statement.

What they're saying: "In your letter, you express the Trump campaign’s interest in a presidential debate in early September. You state that such a debate is necessary because some states begin sending out mail-in ballots before the first scheduled debate," the commission says in a letter to Rudy Giuliani, who sent the request on behalf of the Trum campaign.

  • "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."
  • "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."

Worth noting: In response to the campaign providing a list of proposed moderators for the debate, the commission said it would make its choice "with great care, as always, to ensure that the selected moderators are qualified and fair."

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