Updated May 15, 2024 - News

University of Utah unlikely to host 2024 presidential debate

Trump and Biden appear on stage during a presidential debate in 2020.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during a 2020 debate in Tennessee. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The University of Utah may no longer be the host of the highly anticipated 2024 presidential debate after all.

Catch up quick: President Biden's campaign on Wednesday said it wouldn't participate in the three fall debates set up by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. The third event was scheduled for Oct. 9 at Kingsbury Hall on the U's campus.

  • Biden and former President Trump instead agreed to spar at two independent debates hosted by CNN and ABC News on June 27 and Sept. 10, respectively.

What they're saying: The university was not informed of the candidates' plans beforehand, Jason Perry, the university's vice president for government relations, told Axios.

  • "We're disappointed that that is the strategy for now but these debates are just so critically important so we continue to work with the Commission on Presidential Debates," he said. "They're continuing to work with the campaigns and the candidates to see what other opportunities might still exist."

What's next: The university will not cancel the debate and move forward with planning unless it hears from the commission that the event will not move forward, Perry noted.

  • "We want students throughout the state to be committed to civic engagement and there is no greater seat to have then right there in that auditorium watching candidates for president of the U.S," he said.

Flashback: University of Utah president Taylor Randall had called the opportunity to host the 2024 debate "a privilege."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from Jason Perry.

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