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Campaign Press Release - After Pelosi Remarks, Trump Campaign Calls on Debate Commission to Step In

August 31, 2020

With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly urging Joe Biden to cancel debates, President Donald J. Trump's re-election campaign today called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to step in to ensure that the interests of the American people will be served. The Trump campaign asked for written confirmation from Biden's campaign that he will still participate in debates, reiterated its call for a schedule change to reflect early voting, and demanded details about alternative debate sites should host locations cancel because of coronavirus.

"By now you are surely aware of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's assertion, unprompted, that Joe Biden should withdraw from all debates with President Trump this fall," wrote the Trump campaign in a letter signed by advisor Rudy Giuliani. "This was especially alarming because as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi became the highest-ranking Democrat official to urge Biden to cancel debates, adding her voice to other prominent Democrats advising the same. The public discussion of cancelling the debate schedule should not be allowed to continue unchecked."

In light of Pelosi's remarks, the Trump campaign requested written reaffirmation from Joe Biden's handlers that their candidate would indeed appear in person at debates with President Trump.

"There have been numerous instances of Biden saying one thing about a given topic in public, only to have his campaign come behind him and clean up his statements after the fact," Giuliani's letter continued. "While he may verbally give vague assertions of his intentions, there is no way of knowing what his handlers truly have planned for him. Presidential debates are too vital to the dissemination of information to voters to leave their very existence subject to the whims of political consultants pulling Joe Biden's strings."

The Trump campaign again raised its objections to the lateness of the debate schedule, arguing that it is a terrible disservice to voters to hold debates after millions of Americans have already had the chance to cast their votes prior to Election Day.

"The Commission has previously stated that it would be amenable to a discussion of a schedule adjustment should both campaigns agree," Giuliani's letter read. "As the Biden campaign has indicated no willingness to do so, we ask that the Commission step in and act in the best interests of the voting public. The Commission has long cast itself as the arbiter of how presidential debates should be conducted, who the moderators will be, and when they will be held. In this instance, it is clear that the public interest would be served by changing the date of one of the events, but the people are being poorly served because of the recalcitrance of one of the candidates. The Commission must act as an agent of the people and make a decision that best addresses the public need for information before voting commences."

The President's campaign also repeated its request for detailed information regarding alternate plans to enable the two candidates to debate in person should one of the event hosts withdraw because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We require information regarding which television studios, in which cities, have been approached and arranged as alternate locations where the events could be held," the letter read. "Without this sort of detailed information, we remain convinced that Biden will retreat to the safety of his remote video link, where he can rely on handlers, a teleprompter, or notes positioned near the camera as he clearly did on CNN last week."

The Giuliani letter concluded by noting that Biden's sudden eagerness to leave home, in response to falling poll numbers, makes it obvious that he should be able to make it to a debate location earlier than the current debate schedule provides.

"With Joe Biden's hastily-planned private plane excursion to Pennsylvania this week, it is clear that he is reacting to sliding poll numbers by leaving his basement, at least for one day," the letter concluded. "If Joe Biden's handlers are now issuing day passes for the candidate, it stands to reason that they could let him out to stand on stage with President Trump before a sizeable portion of voters begin to cast their ballots."

Click here to read the entire letter.

Donald J. Trump, Campaign Press Release - After Pelosi Remarks, Trump Campaign Calls on Debate Commission to Step In Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345574

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