The Trump campaign urged the presidential debate commission on Thursday to host four debates in the upcoming presidential election season, reportedly also asking the commission to host the first debate soon after Labor Day.
According to The New York Times, three Trump affiliates attended the virtual meeting, including Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, and Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, who told the news organization the campaign was looking for “fair debates” and wanted them to occur sooner and on a “bigger schedule.”
“As many Americans as possible need to see the stark differences between the accomplishments and leadership of President Trump and the failed record and sleepiness of Joe Biden,” said Parscale.
The Trump campaign also reportedly requested to share influence with the Biden campaign over who would serve as the debate moderator for each event, a move the debate commission has rejected, according to The Washington Post.
Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for Biden, suggested to the Times in a statement that the Trump campaign was trying to “change the subject” to debates as a way of distracting from unfavorable polling.
“But there’s a catch: He’ll only do it if he can pick the moderators,” said Bedingfield. “We are not going to ride the roller coaster of the ever-changing Trump campaign position on debates, nor are we going to be distracted by his demands.”
The Post reports that the Trump campaign also requested that no debates be held on the same evenings as NFL games, a reference to the 2016 election when two of the three presidential debates were scheduled alongside football games.
When the Trump campaign raised the concern back in the summer of 2016, the commission pushed back against the idea it would reschedule the debates: “It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.”
“As a point of reference, in a four-year period, there are four general-election debates (three presidential and one vice-presidential), and approximately 1,000 NFL games,” said the commission.
63% of those who plan to vote for Biden cited the fear of Trump winning re-election as their biggest motivator. Only 31% of people who plan to vote for Biden indicated they were motivated by excitement for the candidate himself.
On the other hand, 62% of people who plan to vote for Trump indicated that their excitement about the president was their biggest motivation. Only 33% reported that they were planning to vote for Trump out of fear that Biden would win the presidency.
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