Apr 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign asks for more presidential debates

Trump in red MAGA hat

Former President Trump at the Atlanta airport on April 10 for a campaign event. Photo: Megan Varner/ Getty Images

Former President Trump's campaign sent a letter Thursday asking the Commission on Presidential Debates to move the already scheduled debates earlier in the year and add additional debates to the schedule.

Why it matters: Trump, who did not participate in any of the Republican primary debates, made similar requests during the 2020 election.

  • President Biden has not yet publicly committed to participating in the general election debates, although he hasn't ruled them out.

Driving the news: "We have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, anyplace, and anywhere – and the time to start these debates is now," Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, Trump co-campaign managers wrote in the letter to the commission.

  • Trump's campaign is arguing that having debates earlier in the process is necessary to account for early voting, a similar argument he made ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Biden didn't rule out participating in general election debates last month, saying whether he debates Trump "depends on his behavior."

  • Biden in February dismissed calls from Trump to debate, saying: "Well, if I were him, I'd want to debate me, too. He's got nothing else to do."

Flashback: Biden and Trump participated in two debates during the 2020 election. One of the three scheduled general election debates was canceled in 2020 after Trump refused to participate in a virtual format due to COVID-19.

  • Some Biden campaign officials are still concerned about the past cycle's debates, when they say the commission allowed the Trump campaign to flout some of its rules over debate protocols and COVID-19 precautions.

The big picture: The request comes as pressure is building for Trump and Biden to participate in televised debates.

What to watch: The Commission on Presidential Debates announced last year that the three 2024 presidential debates will be held on Sept. 16, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9.

  • The vice presidential debate is set to take place on Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Go deeper: The future of presidential debates has never been more uncertain

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