Aug 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign requests call with debate commission, Biden campaign

Presidential Trump on the debate stage during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Presidential Trump on the debate stage during his 2016 presidential campaign. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump campaign is taking yet another crack at the Commission on Presidential Debates in its unsuccessful push to move up the start of the general election debates — this time asking for a conference call with Joe Biden's campaign to at least talk about it.

Why it matters: The president's campaign team views the debates as the key opportunity left to sway voters before the November election, and given the anticipated surge in early voting, they want to give as many Biden-leaning voters as possible a reason to think twice before they cast their ballots.

Driving the news: Trump's personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, made the request in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by Axios.

Details: It's the latest of several attempts by the Trump campaign to change the debate schedule.

  • It comes as Trump campaign officials are increasingly concerned about Biden's strong polling numbers, which they expect will get a further boost from this week's Democratic National Convention.
  • The debates are scheduled to take place on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Oct. 15 in Miami, and Oct. 22 in Nashville.

Be smart: There's no reason to think this will change. Rejecting an earlier Trump campaign request, the commission indicated it would only consider adding another debate to the schedule if both candidates were to advocate for the addition.

What they're saying: The Biden campaign referred Axios to its previous response, with spokesperson Andrew Bates saying, "Joe Biden will appear on the dates that the commission selected and in the locations they chose."

Read the letter:

Go deeper