Trump Campaign Calls on Debate Commission to Include Foreign Policy as Topic

Trump Campaign Calls on Debate Commission to Include Foreign Policy as Topic
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden square off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29, 2020. (Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to include foreign policy as one of the six topics that will be included on Thursday's debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“As is the long-standing custom, and as had been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the October 22 debate. We urge you to recalibrate the topics and return to subjects which had already been confirmed,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien wrote in a letter on Monday.

The commission said on Friday that the topics of the debate include the CCP virus pandemic, race, national security, climate change, American families, and leadership.

The campaign letter said that the aforementioned topics were "worthy of discussion," but that they were already covered during the first debate in September.

Stepien then accused the commission of attempting to shield Biden from having to talk about foreign policy, coming after reports last week asserted that his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, tried to introduce a Burisma official to the former vice president while he was in office. Biden's campaign said the meeting never took place and Biden accused the claim as being part of a "smear campaign," although neither parties have disputed the authenticity of emails surrounding the alleged meeting.

“It is completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history,” Stepien’s letter said. His letter suggested that Trump wanted to speak about his own diplomatic efforts, including peace deals in the Middle East and the killing of the ISIS terrorist leader.

The moderator of the next debate will be Kristen Welker of NBC News.

The second debate was called off after Trump and several White House officials tested positive for the CCP virus. A virtual debate was proposed, but Trump rejected it. Instead, two town hall-style events were held on ABC and NBC with Biden and Trump instead.

Regardless of the format, a Trump campaign adviser, Jason Miller, suggested Trump would bring up Biden's family business ties during the debate.

“We were supposed to have a debate largely focused on foreign policy this next Thursday, which would be perfect as we—especially as we talk about the issue of Joe Biden potentially being compromised,” Miller said Monday on Fox News. “We know Fox News has confirmed the authenticity of these emails from the Hunter Biden-Chinese cash scandal that’s going on right now that the New York Post has been covering pretty extensively. I wish we were spending a lot more time going into foreign policy, especially as President Trump has these peace deals that he’s able to point to.”

Miller added that Trump will likely "give Joe Biden" more space to "explain himself" after the NY Post's reports.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), on CNN this weekend, suggested the latest reports about Hunter Biden and Burisma are part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe disputed Schiff's claim on Monday, saying he has seen no evidence of an alleged disinformation campaign.