Trump Campaign Wants Presidential Debates to Start Earlier

Trump Campaign Wants Presidential Debates to Start Earlier
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 14, 2019. (Holly Kellum/NTD)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is calling for additional 2024 presidential debates and for them to take place “much earlier” than initially proposed by the debate commission. The Trump campaign asserted that the candidate is willing to debate President Joe Biden “anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.”

The Epoch Times received a copy of an April 11 letter from the campaign via email, authored by Trump campaign co-managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita. The letter was sent to The Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairs Frank Farenkopf Jr. and Antonia Hernandez.

Ms. Wiles and Mr. LaCivita told the commission they were writing “in agreement with the pending letter from television networks advocating for presidential debates to occur in 2024.

“While the Commission on Presidential Debates has already announced three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate to occur later this year, we are in favor of these debates beginning much earlier,” they wrote.

In their letter, Ms. Wiles and Mr. LaCivita pointed out that “voting is beginning earlier and earlier, and as we saw in 2020, tens of millions of Americans had already voted by the time of the first debate.

Expressing disappointment with the proposed 2024 calendar, they stated that it arrives too late and included an estimate of the number of Americans who will have cast their ballots by the time each debate is scheduled.

“By the date of the first proposed debate, September 16, 2024, over 1 million Americans will have likely voted,” the Trump co-managers wrote. “By the date of the second proposed debate, October 1, 2024, the number of Americans who will have likely cast a ballot will be over 3 million, an increase of 225 percent.”

Based on the third proposed debate date of Oct. 9, which is 35 days prior to Election Day, Ms. Wiles and Mr. LaCivita approximate that “8.7 million Americans will have already voted.”

The Trump campaign contended that the American people “were robbed of a true and robust debate” in 2020, as the commission hosted just two debates that, according to the letter’s authors, took place “much too late in the election calendar despite voting timelines having moved up exponentially.”

The Trump campaign stated in a letter to the debate commission that in 2020, they “ceded to the wishes of the Biden campaign on every front.”

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

“Former President Abraham Lincoln and former U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas held seven debates in their storied 1858 U.S. Senate battle in Illinois,” they added. “Certainly, today’s America deserves as much.”

The Republican National Convention weighed in on the letter, with Chairman Michael Whatley and Co-Chair Lara Trump releasing a statement on April 11, asserting that “The RNC has long pushed for reforms that foster truly free and fair debates.

“Election calendars have become longer than ever before—and scheduling debates after millions of Americans have already cast their ballots does a grave disservice to voters who want to hear solutions to the economic, border, and crime crises created by Joe Biden. It’s no wonder that Biden wants to return to the basement and avoid accountability for his failures, but Americans deserve to see the contrast between his weaknesses and President Trump’s vision to Make America Great Again.”

Near the end of the letter, the Trump campaign reiterated the former president’s dedication to the debates, saying, “We have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, anyplace, and anywhere—and the time to start these debates is now.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’s request for comment.

Savannah Pointer is a politics reporter for The Epoch Times. She can be reached at [email protected]