Trump Team Calls For More Debates With Biden, ‘Much Earlier’ Than Currently Planned

Former President Donald Trump wants to face off with President Joe Biden on the debate stage “much earlier,” and more times than currently planned, his campaign said Thursday.

In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsors and produces the events, Trump’s co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita argued the current schedule is not good enough, noting that one million Americans will have already cast their ballots by the time of the first debate scheduled to take place on Sept. 16.

“Americans were robbed of a true and robust debate in 2020,” they wrote. “There were only two debates, and they happened much too late in the election calendar despite voting timelines having moved up exponentially.”

The commission has proposed a total of three debates this cycle between Trump and Biden with the final two set to take place on Oct. 1 and Oct. 9 respectively.

However, Trump’s team wants more, citing the example of the 1858 U.S. Senate battle in Illinois, where former President Abraham Lincoln and former Sen. Stephen A. Douglas debated each other seven times.

“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,” Wiles and LaCivita said.

“We have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, anyplace, and anywhere — and the time to start these debates is now,” they added.

Ironically, though, Trump refused to take part in any of the debates scheduled by the Republican National Committee ahead of the GOP’s presidential primary contests, claiming he saw no point in sharing the stage with rivals who were polling way behind him.

Besides, it remains unclear if the debates will even go ahead, as Biden has not committed to showing up so far.

“It depends on his behavior,” he told reporters in March in reference to Trump.

Major U.S. TV networks are reportedly planning on issuing an open letter to both Trump and Biden, calling on them “to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election,” according to a draft of the document reviewed by The New York Times. Trump’s team said they agreed with the pending letter.

“If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high,” the draft letter continued.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign accused the Commission on Presidential Debates of working to advance Biden’s candidacy in the 2020 election cycle, claiming among other things, that they picked “a demonstrably anti-Trump moderator clearly positioned to aid Joe Biden” in reference to Chris Wallace, who was employed by Fox News at the time.

“Fairness in such a setting is paramount and the Commission must ensure that the 2024 Commission-sponsored debates are truly fair and conducted impartially,” Wiles and LaCivita wrote.

This is not the first time that Republicans have taken issue with the nonpartisan commission that was jointly founded by both parties’ national committees in 1987.

The RNC in 2022 voted to withdraw from the commission but then-chair Ronna McDaniel signaled GOP nominees would continue to take part in presidential debates.